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Employer settles third age discrimination lawsuit this year

3M has settled three age discrimination lawsuits this year that were brought against them by current and former employees. Last spring, 3M settled an age discrimination lawsuit that had been brought against the employer in San Jose, California.

Last March, the company also settled one of two lawsuits brought against them in Minnesota, the state where they are based. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 and, in settling it, the company agreed to pay $12 million to 7,000 current and former employees of the company.

In the most recent age discrimination case, originally filed in 2007, 3M agreed to pay $3 million between about 290 former employees. The company says that it did not admit to any discriminatory employment practices, but settled in order to move on and avoid further litigation.

The lawsuit was filed against 3M by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the former employees. The lawsuit accused 3M of discriminating against employees on the basis of age, which is illegal under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The law prohibits an employer from discriminating against job applicants or employees age 40 or older based on age.

The former employees were over the age of 45 when they were laid off during work force reductions between 2003 and 2006. The EEOC found during its investigation an email in which a person mentioned that the CEO wanted to groom young people around age 30 to become future leaders. The lawsuit alleged that the company laid off the older workers to save money and that they denied leadership training to older workers while offering it to younger workers.

Source: Twin Cities Business Magazine, "3M to Pay $3M to Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit," Christa Meland, Aug. 23, 2011

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