Maintenance Company Fired or Failed to Rehire Older Workers, Federal Agency Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. – Liberty Support Services, Inc. (Liberty Support), a North Carolina corporation that maintains rest areas through contracts with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT), violated federal law when it fired or failed to rehire several older workers based on their age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in 2016, Liberty Support employed Thomas Green, Diane Derreberry, Lynn Adams and Charlie Cable as rest area attendants for the NC DOT Cherokee County rest area. In December 2016, NC DOT began scheduled renovations at the Cherokee County rest area necessitating its closure. The rest area attendants were laid off during the renovations but were not told that they were being discharged. The rest area attendants expected to return to their jobs after the renovations were completed. Around May 2017, Green, Derreberry, Adams and Cable, who are all over age 40, learned they had been discharged and replaced with younger workers, under the age of 40. EEOC alleges that Liberty Support discharged, or failed to rehire, the four employees because of their respective ages. The EEOC’s complaint also alleges Liberty Support failed to keep employment records that are required by law.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects individuals age 40 and over from employment discrimination because of their age and makes it illegal for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual because of an individual’s age. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville Division (EEOC v. Liberty Support Service, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-00293 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay and liquidated damages, as well as injunctive relief.

“Employment decisions should be based on ability and not age,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “It is illegal to fire, or fail to hire, qualified employees and applicants based on their age. The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce the law prohibiting age discrimination.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.