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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kmart settles Hawaii age-bias suit

Advertiser Staff

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said yesterday that Kmart Corp. will pay $120,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination suit involving a 70-year-old pharmacist at a Honolulu store.

A suit filed last year by the EEOC contended that, over the course of four years, the woman was subjected to harassment, humiliation and when she complained to retaliation. The EEOC said the woman eventually resigned.

According to the suit, a pharmacy manager openly said the pharmacist was "too old," "should just retire" and was "greedy" for continuing to work at age 70.

The EEOC said the manager continued to humiliate the woman in written entries to a communication book open to the entire department. "The pharmacy is no longer your forte," the manager wrote. Another entry read, "You need to retire from pharmacy work now."

The EEOC said the manager also purposely scheduled her to work Sundays, knowing that she attended church regularly.

The EEOC said the woman complained to a Kmart district manager, general manager and human resources manager to no avail. The suit says Kmart then threatened her with legal action using a pretext on an unrelated matter to retaliate against her for complaining.

Kmart issued a statement saying it "does not and will not tolerate the type of behavior alleged by the EEOC in this case."

"The company elected to resolve this matter to avoid the continued time and expense of litigation," the statement continued.

In settling the suit, Kmart also agreed to post a notice on the matter, hire an EEO trainer, review and revise its anti-discrimination policy, provide age-discrimination training and ensure that performance evaluations reflect discriminatory misconduct by management.