You’re no doubt aware that the incidence of age discrimination lawsuits in heading skyward. And when you hear the stupid comments made by a business owner in Hawaii, you’ll start to understand why.
Debra Moreno, 54, was an office coordinator for Hawaii Healthcare Professionals in Maui. And, according to the facility’s manager, she was a thorough and efficient worker.
But, according to the EEOC, HHP’s owner, Carolyn Frutoz-De Harne, ordered that Moreno be terminated.
Why? Frutoz-De Harne told the manager Moreno “looks old,” “sounds old on the telephone” and is “like a bag of bones.” Frutoz-De Harne said Moreno “wasn’t the type of person she wanted representing her company.”
After the termination, the manager reported Frutoz-De Harne’s comments to Moreno, who in turn filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
Fast forward two years, when a U.S. District judge awarded Moreno $193,236, saying she’d been illegally fired because of her age.
In addition to the monetary award for Moreno, the judgment also required that HHP prevent future age discrimination and retaliation by developing and disseminating procedures to address such claims, training all staff on age discrimination and retaliation, and training supervisors on how to deal with complaints.
HHP also must retain an outside equal employment opportunity (EEO) coordinator to assist with the education program and post a notice for employees regarding the judgment.
To add insult to injury, the EEOC will monitor compliance with the judgment.