EEOC Sues Manufacturer Hutchinson Sealing Systems for Age Discrimination

Agency says Michigan firm laid off engineers based on age.

Hutchinson Sealing Systems, an Auburn, Mich.-based manufacturer of parts for the auto, aerospace and other industries, laid off engineers based on their age, in violation of federal law, alleged the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a lawsuit filed Jan.20.

According to the lawsuit, Hutchinson Sealing Systems manipulated its criteria for selecting project engineers for layoff.

In a first round of layoffs, a 62-year-old engineer was laid off. He also was the oldest engineer, according to the EEOC.

In another round of layoffs the following month, two more engineers, ages 51 and 48, were laid off. They were the second- and third-oldest project engineers, the agency reports.

The EEOC says the manufacturer failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for employing a new set of layoff criteria for the latter two layoffs just one month after the first. If the company had employed the same criteria for the second and third layoff that it did for the first, two much younger engineers would have been let go, charges the federal agency.

The alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

The EEOC it is seeking monetary relief for all three engineers, as well as reinstatement and anti-discrimination training for the manufacturer.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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