Hospital Refused to Hire Worker Because of His Age and Perceived Disability, Federal Agency Said

WHEELING, W.V. — Weirton Medical Center, a community hospital in Weirton, W.V., will pay $12,500 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve an age and disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Paul Ayers had successfully performed as a linen technician at the hospital for over 24 years, and was well-qualified for the multi-craftsman position for which he applied. Weirton Medical Center’s maintenance director, who interviewed Ayers for an available multi-craftsman position, made various oral and written statements indicating that he did not select Ayers for the job because of Ayers’ age (48) and a perceived disability, a back impairment. The EEOC charged that the maintenance director admitted during the agency’s administrative investigation that he did not select Ayers for the position because he “wanted someone younger and more energetic.”

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Weirton Medical Center, Civil Action No 5:13-97) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

After the EEOC filed this lawsuit, Weirton Medical Center voluntarily hired Ayers into the multi-craftsman assistant position and paid him his lost wages without being ordered by a court to do so.

The three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides Ayers additional monetary relief and enjoins Weirton Medical Center from engaging in any future hiring practices that discriminate on the basis of disability or age, and also from engaging in unlawful retaliation. The center will conduct random audits of not less than 25 percent of all hiring decisions to make sure those hiring decisions conform to the requirements of the ADA, ADEA and its own anti-discrimination policies. In addition, the hospital will provide training to all management personnel with hiring authority on the ADA, ADEA and the provisions of the consent decree. The center will post a remedial notice.

“Mr. Ayers just wanted the opportunity to work in a position for which he was well qualified. We are pleased that Weirton Medical Center acted proactively to place him in the position he deserved and to pay him his lost wages. We are also satisfied with the comprehensive remedial measures to prevent any further discrimination,” said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.

EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. added, “The equitable relief provisions in the consent decree, including the innovative requirement that the medical center audit at least 25 percent of all hiring decisions to ensure compliance with the ADA and ADEA, are strong and wide-ranging measures that will protect numerous applicants and employees from any hiring discrimination.”

The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website,