Catholic Charities settles age lawsuit

June 19, 2009 1:05:19 PM PDT
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has announced a $30,000 settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit it filed in federal court in San Francisco against Catholic Charities on behalf of a worker who was fired at age 71.

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The lawsuit claimed the social services agency violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act by firing Gilbert Brigham, who worked at a senior center operated by the agency in San Francisco, at the age of 71 in 2003.

In addition to a $30,000 payment to Brigham, the settlement provides that Catholic Charities will give its managers additional training on age discrimination prohibitions.

The settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on Tuesday and announced by the EEOC on Thursday.

EEOC attorney Dana Johnson said Brigham did not seek to get his job back because he found a new position with a different nonprofit agency and is still working there.

Michael Baldonado, director of the EEOC's district office in San Francisco, said that Brigham, "like many older workers, continues to be a vibrant force in the workplace."

Baldonado said, "With the protection of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, he will be able to continue contributing to our community for as long as he wishes."

Catholic Charities attorney Paul Cesari noted that the settlement states the agency does not admit to any wrongdoing or liability.

Cesari said, "This was merely an accord we reached with a disgruntled former employee to curb escalating legal costs."

The attorney said, "This has not changed Catholic Charities' longstanding policy against discrimination."

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