3M Pays $3 Million To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit
3M pays $3 million to a class of former employees to settle a nationwide age discrimination lawsuit, The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of hundreds of employees over the age of 45 during a series of reductions in force from July 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2006. As is typical with big companies 3M laid off many highly paid older employees to save money. Employees give the most productive years of their lives to big companies and then they get the ax. This is a horrible way to treat workers. Treating a worker different based on age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("AEDA") and will result in a claim of age discrimination.
The lawsuit also alleged that older employees were denied leadership training and laid off to make way for younger leaders. During discovery in the lawsuit the EEOC uncovered an employee e-mail describing then-CEO Jim McNerney’s “vision for leadership development” as “we should be developing 30 year olds with General Manager potential” and “He wants us to tap into the youth as participants in the leadership development.” These were all code words for get rid of the old workers and hire new younger ones. Well the EEOC did not give up and held the companies feet to the fire. A settlement this large should send a signal to other would be discriminating companies.
“The law requires employers to base employment decisions upon each person’s strengths and talents instead of relying upon generalized assumptions calculated around an employee’s age,” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado.
This type of activity is also similar to glass ceilings in corporate cultures. A glass ceiling is usually based on gender discrimination but it has the same undertones. Get rid of a certain group of employees or don't promote a certain group of employees.