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EEOC sues Georgia firm for reneging on mediated age discrimination settlement


HOUSTON—The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a terminal tractor company for failing to abide by an agreement to pay a $7,000 settlement in an age discrimination case.

The EEOC accused Savannah, Ga.-based Terminal Investment Corp. of unlawfully firing James Woodson from his driver/mechanic position at its La Porte, Texas, facility because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Mr. Woodson was 62 when he filed his EEOC charge.

On July 20, TICO entered into an agreement to settle Mr. Woodson's charge during mediation and agreed to pay him a $7,000 settlement. Full payment should have been made by TICO to Mr. Woodson no later than July 31, according to court papers.

However, the EEOC said Thursday that the company has refused to pay the money to Mr. Woodson and filed suit in Houston federal court.

“Companies must realize that they cannot break the contracts they enter into with the EEOC just because they change their minds,” R.J. Ruff, district director of the agency's Houston district office, said in a statement. “The EEOC will always take measures to ensure that companies comply with their settlement agreements.”

Jim Sacher, the EEOC's regional attorney in Houston, said the agency's mediation program “fulfills an important role in the enforcement program. People who participate in our mediation program deserve to have confidence that any agreement reached during that process cannot be invalidated just because one party no longer likes the terms of settlement.”

A TICO spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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