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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an age discrimination lawsuit Friday in federal court against Dollar General stores operator Dolgencorp LLC, stating a regional director harassed district managers who were in their 50s and older, calling them “grumpy old men.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, said the director allegedly also told the district managers he was building a “millennial team” and they needed “young blood “in the stores, threatening them to keep up with the “millennial team” or quit or be fired.
After one of the district managers quit and reported the harassment, the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based company investigated the allegations but did not take effective measures to stop the regional director’s conduct, the EEOC said in its statement.
It said the emboldened regional director then continued harassing the older workers under his supervision and fired two district managers who had told the company about his misconduct during the investigation. Another district manager was eventually forced to quit because of the continual harassment, the EEOC said.
The company is charged with violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
A spokeswoman said in a statement the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Dolgencorp paid $6 million in 2019 to settle an EEOC class race discrimination lawsuit that charged it with denying employment to African-Americans at a significantly higher rate than to white applicants for failing the company’s broad criminal background check.
A class action lawsuit that Google has settled for $11 million could encourage more litigation, particularly against other high-tech companies, which are viewed as favoring younger workers, say experts.