8 'Old Farts' In Texas Win $400,000 In Age Discrimination Settlement

Their boss would call them "grandpas," "old farts" and "old bastards." So when the eight Texas dockworkers, who all are at least 50 years old, were fired and replaced with younger hires, they thought something discriminatory might be going on. The men filed suit, and last week Central Freight Lines Inc. agreed to pay them $400,000.

Some of the eight men had worked for the less-than-truckload carrier company for over 20 years. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company tightened its attendance and disciplinary rules so that the older men were suddenly put on corrective action for a few past infractions. Then in August 2007, they were fired.

"It's an injustice to terminate these loyal workers who gave so many years of their lives to Central Freight," said EEOC attorney William C. Backhaus. "Laying people off because of their age is a violation of federal law."

Specifically, it's a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which made it illegal for a company to fire or refuse to hire someone over 40 years old because of his or her age.

Age discrimination complaints have skyrocketed since the recession as companies, in an effort to cut costs, replaced their older and better-paid workers with younger, cheaper labor. The EEOC called it an "equal opportunity plague."

"Reductions in force are unfortunately not unusual in tough economic times," said another EEOC attorney, Robert A. Canino. "But a freight business should realize that unloading more-experienced, older dockworkers while pushing to hire younger ones is not the answer. The costs that can result from age discrimination can lead to yet a heavier load to bear."

Central Freight not only agreed to pay the men almost half a million, it also plans to create a written age-discrimination policy and train its managers in discrimination law.

A lot of Central Freight employees stand to benefit, because many of them stay at the company for a good long while. Sandy Menzdorf, for example, has worked at Central Freight for half a century, and the company acknowledged him with a post on its website saying, "Congratulations Sandy from all of us here at Central for 50 years!!!" -- a slight change of tone from "old fart."




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40 Comments

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sgtmike132

Polar Beverages in Worcester, Ma. discriminated against me for being forty......

May 15 2012 at 6:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wstepp2250

State Employment Divisions like Consumer Affairs in California uses Age as one of their refusals to Employ. OVER 40

May 15 2012 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
siteorg

It should have been $400,000 each instead of 8 men splitting that. If I am correct that they did split it. If I am wrong someone please let me know. I did not read that they got $400,000 each or they split it. At least they got a little something. CONGRATULATIONS MEN!!!

May 14 2012 at 10:44 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to siteorg's comment
tws952

I'm totally with you on those last two sentences! I didn't see whether they had to split it or what.

That's just more lousy writing by Claire Gordon!

It's just a damn shame it took them five years to get justice!

May 15 2012 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
martylesh

R S you might want to check the facts, Obama didn't cause your job loss-you did! and you will do it again, every time you vote republican you knock the middle class down. Its been going on for thirty years, If you think for one minute they care about you, I got a bridge I like to sell you.

May 14 2012 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
amyandarthur

A company should be allowed to hire And fire as it sees fit...... This is still the USA !

May 14 2012 at 8:39 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to amyandarthur's comment
Larry

Wrong, operating a business is not a right it's a privilege subject to license. Those older workers paid lots of taxes to support the infrastructure that business uses daily. Virtually everything a business has comes from its workers in the long run. Capitalism is amoral, regulation and law add morality to the equation. America's founders detested "laissez faire" capitalism, espousing the teachings of Adam Smith, who specifically recognized business needed to be regulated to prevent monopolies (companies who could set prices). Smith was Keynesian before Keynes was born. One of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence was the Crown's failure to write laws to regulate businesses and they would have tarred and feathered the 5 traitors/fraudsters for that moral and legal abomination: Citizens United.

May 14 2012 at 8:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rmaguro

Oh, so you're for descrimination in all forms. You are truly a great American. By the way, that was sarcasm.
Definition of SARCASM (From Websters)
1: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
2a: a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual

May 17 2012 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Konrad

I wonder how much the lawyer cost them?

May 14 2012 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miss Mellie

At no time did it say they were unable to physically handle their jobs. The company just wanted to pay younger men less money.

May 14 2012 at 8:06 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
ds6342

Good for them. Older workers as a rule are more reliable and work hard, so they shouldn't be terminated for no good reason.

May 14 2012 at 7:16 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Michael Lauzon

Now this would've been more of a story had the company had to pay almost half a million to each man, as it stands at the moment, this is a non-story!

May 14 2012 at 6:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michael Lauzon's comment
Larry

Remember this is TX, and judges collect campaign contributions, legalized bribes. Worst instance was the Texaco/Pennzoil suit where the participants total contribution was $2 million. Need I say the winner out gave the loser by 3 to 1.

May 14 2012 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gblank1603

I'm older than they are but I think any company should be able to hire or fire anyone for any reason at all.

May 14 2012 at 6:16 PM Report abuse -11 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to gblank1603's comment
fit4ufor3rd

really?? wow.

May 14 2012 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sheri4007

Why should companies be able to hire or fire anyone for any reason at all? Why? Why should workers have no rights at all? What if a worker is fired for literally no reason at all What if it was you? You would be content to be fired for no reason at all or maybe just because of your age or your hair color for that matter? Really?

May 15 2012 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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