Senior Living Facility To Pay Former Employee $78K To Settle Age And Disability Lawsuit

A 78-year-old woman who worked at a retirement living facility has won a lawsuit filed by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) after the company that terminated her was sued for age and disability discrimination.

The EEOC announced that Covenant Woods Senior Living, LLC, and BrightSpace Senior Living, LLC, which own and operates Covenant Woods in Columbus, Georgia, have agreed to pay a $78,000 settlement to a woman who worked at the facility when she was terminated after she won an award as one of Covenant Woods’ employees of the year in 2022 (for 2021).

After a brief time in the hospital, the facility fired her after asking her how long she planned to work at the company and whether she needed to work. She was also asked if she would prefer to spend time traveling and being with family instead of working.

“Employers have a responsibility to evaluate an employee’s performance without regard to age if the employee is 40 and over, and without regard to an actual or perceived disability,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, in a written statement. “The EEOC is pleased that through this early resolution, the former receptionist will be compensated and that Covenant Woods has agreed to take steps to ensure that it meets its obligations under the ADEA and the ADA going forward.”

CBS News identified the woman as Shirley Noble.

The EEOC said that Covenant Woods’s general manager told Noble that it has confidence in her ability to work because of her recent hospitalization. Although Noble expressed her desire to continue working, she was fired the next day and replaced by younger employees.

The agency said the alleged action violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The lawsuit was filed after a failure to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process.

“We at Covenant Woods and BrightSpace Senior Living resolved this case due to the cost of litigating it,” BrightSpace Chief Financial Officer Brian Hendricks said in a statement to CBS News. “We do not admit wrongdoing or discriminatory conduct as part of this resolution. Covenant Woods and BrightSpace Senior Living remain committed to compliance with all discrimination and labor and employment laws.”

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