It is surprising that we do not hear of more suites like this. Have you seen or been involved in other Age Bias related legal actions? Tell us your story in our comments section below. (editor's note)
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
3M Co. (MMM) agreed to pay $3 million to former workers to resolve an age-discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Monday.
In a statement, 3M said the settlement wasn't an admission or any liability, reiterating that it denies the charges in the case stemming back to a class-action suit first filed in Minnesota in 2004.
"3M's human resources practices are fair, comply with federal and state laws, and are widely recognized as 'best in class,'" the company said.
Monday's agreement--a consent decree that still needs judicial approval--includes a $3 million payment to about 290 former 3M employees. The company also agreed to institute a review process for termination decisions and a training program on how to prevent age bias, as well as agreeing to post openings for positions it hadn't advertised before to allow older workers the chance to apply, according to a release from the commission.
Commission attorney William R. Tamayo said the consent decree was the result of "productive and thoughtful negotiations with 3M."
"In addition to providing meaningful monetary relief for hundreds of former 3M employees, the settlement contains important preventive measures, including company policy changes and training designed to provide older people equal opportunities in the workplace," he said.
In its suit against 3M, the commission had claimed the company unlawfully laid off hundreds of employees over the age of 45 during a series of reductions in force from July 2003 through December 2006. The suit alleged 3M laid off many highly paid older employees, apparently to save money and cut workers in salaried positions. The commission also claimed that older employees were denied leadership training and laid off to make way for younger leaders.
In its response to the settlement announcement, 3M said it "needs and values contributions from all of its employees."
Shares closed up 0.1% to $76.95 Monday.
-By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; firstname.lastname@example.org