Dollar General is facing a lawsuit alleging that the company allowed a regional director in Oklahoma to harass subordinate district managers based on their age and then fire those who complained about it. Violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

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ADEA protects workers age 40 and older from age-based discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation if they report such discrimination.

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court case, Filed Friday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, seeks monetary relief for its customers who have lost their jobs and asks Dollar General to prohibit harassment and retaliation of any age in the future.

“Just like harassment based on gender or race, workplace harassment based on age is illegal,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC in St. Louis. “Employers must take serious, effective steps to ensure that employees, regardless of their age, can work in a setting free of discrimination and harassment.”

The EEOC said a group of district managers, all over the age of 50, accused the regional manager of harassment – ​​they called him a “strange old man” and told him he was making “a millennial team”. Huh. The regional manager reportedly told district managers that there was a need for “young blood” in the stores and that they would have to stay with the “millennial team” or be fired.

One of the district managers stepped down and reported the allegations to Dollar General. The EEOC acknowledged Dollar General’s investigation but said the company had failed to take effective measures to stop the alleged harassment of the regional manager.

Signage at One Dollar General Store on Thursday, August 12, 2021 in Simpsonville, Kentucky, US. Dollar General Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 26. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Businesshala via Getty Images)

The lawsuit claims that the regional manager continued to harass older workers and fired two district managers who reported his alleged misconduct to the company.

And another district manager quit as a result of continued harassment, the EEOC said.

“Retaliation against workers who report harassment is not only illegal, it is short-sighted and bad for business. Retaliation is one of the most frequent complaints received by the EEOC, and protecting workers who protest discrimination is one of the agency’s top priorities. is one of them,” he said. Ale. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office.

The EEOC is seeking monetary relief for its clients who have lost their jobs and has asked Dollar General to prohibit harassment and retaliation of any age in the future.

Dollar General did not immediately respond to a request from Businesshala television stations for comment about the lawsuit.

This story was reported from Atlanta.