Eastman Kodak Subsidiary Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Qualex to pay $272,000 to four employees

Photo processing company Qualex, a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, will pay $272,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency in charge of enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination announced March 24. The lawsuit, filed May 2008, alleged that Qualex violated federal law by targeting older workers for termination through a layoff. According to the EEOC, the average age of people who lost their jobs through a reduction in force at the Qualex facility in East Hartford, Conn., was over 50, which far exceeded the average age of retained employees. The facility has since closed. Qualex will pay a total of $272,000 to four employees in the settlement, $200,000 of which will go to the woman who filed the initial charge with the EEOC. Additionally, the consent decree resolving the litigation enjoins Qualex from violating the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act when it seeks waivers and releases in exchange for severance payments; mandates training of management on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; requires the company to issue a new anti-discrimination policy and post a notice about the settlement. The decree also allows the EEOC to monitor future severance agreements during layoffs.

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