Company refused to hire 49-year-old due to his age, feds say. Now he’s owed $90,000


A company is accused of discriminating against a 49-year-old job applicant — and his age — when it refused to hire him for a sales position in Colorado, according to federal officials.

Now, more than five years later, Exact Sciences Corporation, a molecular diagnostics company, will pay the man damages to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced in a Dec. 14 news release.

In July 2018, a third-party recruiter working for the company told the man he was “overqualified” for a sales position in an email explaining why he wasn’t hired, according to the agency’s lawsuit filed against Exact Sciences Corporation.

This came after Exact Sciences Corporation had rejected the man for a different position, an area manager job in Denver, because he “lacked” the needed experience, an amended complaint filed in court says.

After he was rejected for the sales job, the company’s recruiter also told him that Exact Sciences Corporation was “looking for someone more junior that can … stay with the company for years to come,” according to the EEOC.

In November 2018, the man filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and accused the company of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the complaint says.

The EEOC investigated the charge and found the company potentially “engaged in unlawful employment practices” by not hiring the man, according to the complaint.

Exact Sciences Corporation agreed to pay the man $90,000 in damages as part of a consent decree that settles the EEOC’s lawsuit, the news release said.

McClatchy News contacted attorneys who represented the company in the case for comment on Dec. 18 and didn’t receive an immediate response.

“The ADEA applies to employers who use third-party recruiters to screen job applicants,” Amy Burkholder, the director of the EEOC’s Denver office, said in a statement.

“Recruiters are not free to discriminate based on age, or to refuse to hire applicants over 40 who may be making mid-career job transitions, and often bring valuable prior work experience,” Burkholder added.

Exact Sciences Corporation maintains it didn’t violate the ADEA, according to the EEOC.

As part of the lawsuit settlement, the company’s hiring managers will undergo additional age discrimination training and will make sure third-party recruiters “are aware of Exact Sciences’ policies to prevent age discrimination,” the EEOC said.

Exact Sciences Corporation is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.

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