EEOC Sues Practice for Replacing Older Hygienists With Younger Ones

Dentistry Today

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Capital City Dental Care, a dental practice headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, violated federal law when it fired a group of dental hygienists because of their age, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged in a lawsuit.

According to the suit, a new owner purchased the practice in August 2015. From September 2015 through November 2015, Capital City Dental Care fired eight of nine dental hygienists over the age of 40 at its location in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

Capital City Dental Care did not give the hygienists, each of whom had years of experience and was qualified for the position, any prior notice or reason for the termination. From August 2015 through February 2018, Capital City Dental Care then replaced them with 14 employees, 13 of whom were under the age of 40. 

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the EEOC says, which prohibits discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. 

The EEOC filed suit in the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“It’s not only unfair to fire qualified employees based on their age, it’s against the law,” said EEOC regional attorney Debra M. Lawrence. 

“Older workers play a vital role in the workplace and our economy. The EEOC is committed to protecting employees from age discrimination,” said EEOC Philadelphia District director Jamie R. Williamson.

The EEOC’s Philadelphia District office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, DC, and parts of Virginia.

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