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Hospital agrees to settle age discrimination claim

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A Colorado hospital has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which it was charged with firing or forcing to resign 29 workers who were 40 or older.

The EEOC said in a statement Thursday that the longtime workers at Montrose Memorial Hospital in Montrose, Colorado, many of whom had 10 to 20 or more years of work history at the hospital, were fired for supposed performance deficiencies for which younger employees were treated more leniently.

The EEOC suit also alleged that hospital managers made comments such as younger nurses could “dance around the older nurses” and that they preferred younger and “fresher” nurses, the statement said. 

The hospital was charged with violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In addition to monetary damages, the consent decree settling the case requires Montrose to conduct annual antidiscrimination training for its employees, managers, supervisors and human resources employees, among other provisions.

EEOC Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle said in the statement, "This resolution is an excellent result for the discrimination victims in this case, who will receive compensation, and for all current hospital employees, who we expect will see an improved working environment where they will not be mistreated based on their age."

A hospital spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.