Dollar General faces lawsuit for alleged age discrimination in Oklahoma

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 3:14 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WIBW) - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Dollar General, which alleges age discrimination in Oklahoma against district managers in their 50s.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says national retailer Dolgencorp, LLC, or Dollar General, broke the law by allowing a regional director to harass subordinate district managers because of their age and then fire those who complained about it. It said it filed a lawsuit against Dollar General on Sept. 30 as a result.

According to the lawsuit, between July 2016 and January 2018, a Dollar General regional director in Oklahoma harassed district managers in their 50s and older by calling them “grumpy old men,” telling them he was building a “millennial team” and they needed “young blood” in the stores, threatening them to keep up with the team of millennials or quit or be fired.

After one of the district managers quit and reported the harassment, the lawsuit said Dollar General investigated but did not take effective measures to stop the regional director’s conduct. Emboldened, it said the regional director continue the harassment and fired two district managers who told the company about his misconduct during the investigation.

Eventually, the lawsuit said another district manager was forced to quit due to the never-ending harassment.

The EEOC said such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers 40 and older from such discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation if they report the discrimination.

The Commission said its suit is filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and alleges Dollar General violated the ADEA through the subjection of the district managers to age-based harassment and then firing them because of their age and in retaliation for speaking up.

The suit also alleges Dollar General is liable for the forced resignation of the managers due to the harassment. The suit seeks monetary relief for the district managers who lost their jobs, an order prohibiting future age harassment and retaliation as well as other relief.

“Just like harassment based on sex or race, workplace harassment based on age is illegal,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis. “Employers must take serious, effective steps to ensure that employees, regardless of their age, can work in a setting free from discrimination and harassment.”

“Retaliation against workers who report harassment is not just unlawful, it’s short-sighted and bad for business. Retaliation is one of the most frequent complaints received by the EEOC, and protecting workers who oppose discrimination is one of the agency’s top priorities,” said L. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office.

The EEOC said it is responsible for the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including age discrimination. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and part of southern Illinois.

For more information about the EEOC, click HERE.

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