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U.S. territory faced with age discrimination claims

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission is suing American Samoa, a United States territory, over alleged age discrimination. Although the location may be exotic, the basis for the claim is not; it is a fact that age discrimination claims flourish in Colorado and across the country, meaning employers must always be prepared for the possibility of needing to meet these claims.

The lawsuit was filed against American Samoa's government in the U.S. District Court in Hawaii. The complaint says the director of American Samoa's human resources department told employees that anyone over the age of 50 should be retiring so there would be enough room for the younger generation to come up the ranks. According to the complaint, older employees were reassigned to less attractive positions if they did not decide to retire of their own.

The lawsuit also claims American Samoa's governor followed suit by encouraging those of retirement age to move on to retirement or to the private sector so the positions would be open for those just getting out of college.

If the facts alleged in the complaint are true, these circumstances are a good example of good intentions gone awry. Given how high the unemployment rate is for young and educated people, it would be commendable to try to accommodate these growing careers -- but not if doing so means pushing older workers out of the way just because of their age.

If a company is facing any type of employment law issue, it might be a good idea to seek the services of an experienced, qualified attorney. This attorney will work to protect the rights of employers and defend them against any type of alleged employment discrimination in order to protect the future reputation of the company.

Source: CBS-TV Northern Colorado 5, "American Samoa sued for age discrimination," Aug. 31, 2011

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