EEOC Finds Age Discrimination At Martin Marietta Astronautics
DENVER (AP) _ A federal agency has found that Martin Marietta Astronautics Group repeatedly violated federal age discrimination laws in targeting older workers for layoffs.
The company ″engaged in a pattern and practice of discriminatory layoff decisions ... specifically intended to target members of the Protected Age Group for layoff,″ between Jan. 1, 1990, and Oct. 1, 1992, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.
The protected age group refers to all workers aged 40 or older.
Martin Marietta officials said they are still examining the findings, but contended the determination may be flawed.
″We are assessing our position in this case, but our initial analysis indicates the conclusions reached in the letter are not supportable and may be based on incomplete data and have so advised the EEOC,″ said Martin spokesman Terry Monrad on Wednesday. ″We do not believe we have engaged in age discrimination, and we will be working with the EEOC to resolve the matter.″
The EEOC’s determination has crucial legal and financial implications for Martin, which has laid off thousands of workers since 1990 and already faces a number of individual lawsuits alleging age discrimination.
Attorneys Gregg McReynolds and Todd McNamara are seeking class status for at least nine former Martin workers.
″The EEOC determination can be used as evidence in the case and some courts have held it is entitled to great weight, so it’s very significant,″ said McReynolds.
McReynolds said between 2,000 and 3,000 people were laid off by Martin during the three-year period, ″and the majority were over the age of 40. We know there are more than 1,000 potential plaintiffs who were affected.″
U.S. District Judge Daniel Sparr is hearing all the age discrimination cases against Martin. It is expected to take six to nine months for him to determine whether a class action is appropriate.
Martin won an initial victory earlier this year when a jury determined that former Martin worker Patrick Vasey was not the subject of age discrimination.