Ouch: 3M Settles Age Discrimination For $3 Million.

Maplewood-based 3M has agreed to pay $3 million to settle an age-discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency said Monday.

The EEOC charged that 3M unlawfully laid off hundreds of employees over the age of 45 from July 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2006. 3M laid off many highly paid older employees, apparently to save money, and cut workers in salaried positions up to the level of director, the agency said.

Pending judicial approval, the settlement will be paid to approximately 290 former employees, and 3M will post openings for positions it had not advertised previously to enable older employees to apply. The company agreed to establish a review process for termination decisions and to conduct training on how to prevent age bias.

According to the investigation, older employees were denied leadership training and laid off to make way for younger leaders, according to the agency, which is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

The agency’s investigation found 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.”

“He wants us to tap into the youth as participants in the leadership development,” according to the e-mail.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects people aged 40 and older from employment discrimination. The EEOC filed both the lawsuit and proposed consent decree resolving the suit simultaneously in U.S. District Court for Minnesota.

“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,” Michael Baldonado, district director of the EEOC’s San Francisco office, which spearheaded the investigation, said in a statement.

In April, 3M settled another age discrimination suit for $12 million that affected as many as 7,000 current and former Minnesota employees.  Source:  Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune.


Posted on August 22, 2011, in Employee Engagement, HR Management & Leadership. and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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