Colorado hospital agrees to pay $400k over alleged age discrimination

Montrose (Colo.) Memorial Hospital and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached an agreement regarding age-discrimination complaints filed by former hospital employees, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Under the agreement, which had not been accepted in federal court as of Dec. 29, MMH said it will pay the EEOC $400,000 for legal expenses and settlements to the nearly 30 involved employees, according to the report.

Additionally, the former employees may apply for open positions at MMH, the hospital told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via statement. The hospital said it does not have to rehire the former employees who apply, but it must equally consider them as candidates.

The case stems from an EEOC lawsuit in which the agency claimed a group of workers, age 40 and older, were fired or forced to quit due to age. According to the EEOC, hospital managers made ageist remarks, and one nurse was fired for "performance deficiencies for which younger nurses were treated much more leniently." These actions, the EEOC said, violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

MMH officials told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel the hospital denies the allegations but decided "the Montrose community was best served by an earlier end rather than protracted litigation and legal fees."

Hospital Board Chairman Ron Courtney said in the report the EEOC originally sought $2.5 million in damages.

For more on this story, read the full Grand Junction Daily Sentinel report here. 


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