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Oklahoma-based banking firm settles sex, age bias suit

Posted On: May. 9, 2014 12:00 AM CST

A Tulsa, Oklahoma-based banking firm has agreed to pay $230,000 to settle an age and sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC said Thursday that BOK Financial Corp., which does business as the Bank of Albuquerque, among other brands, fired two managers who were longtime employees because of their gender and because they were more than 40 years old.

In a statement, the EEOC said the firings of Elizabeth Morantes and Yolanda Fernandez “were based on criteria that were not applied to younger male managers and employees” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

In addition to paying $230,000, the company agreed to refrain from future discrimination, post an anti-discrimination notice, provide training and report to the EEOC on its compliance with the terms of the settlement.

“Longtime employees should not be jettisoned because of their age or gender,” Phoenix-based EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neil said in the statement. “Such practices violate federal law as well as basic fairness."

The company responded in a statement: “First, it’s important to note that the events in question took place in 2008. The lawsuit was brought by the EEOC on behalf of three former female employees. It is our policy to terminate employees who manipulate the Bank’s compensation policy for personal financial gain. After the Federal court discharged the EEOC’s primary lawyer and sanctioned the EEOC three times for discovery abuses, the Company settled the claims to avoid incurring additional ongoing legal expenses. In addition, this lawsuit had dragged on for six years and we wanted to put it behind us. We are committed to holding all our employees to the highest standards of integrity and we foster an environment where everyone is rewarded and counseled equally.”