The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought the suit on behalf of a 59-year-old groundskeeper who was temporarily laid off at Llanerch CC in Havertown, Pa. Roughly a month later, job openings were posted for nine groundskeepers and the club informed the plaintiff that he would not be rehired because it was “looking to take the staff in a younger direction.”
Llanerch Country Club (LLC) in Havertown, Pa., has reached a $30,000 settlement with a former employee over an age-discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to an announcement by the agency.
The EEOC alleged that in December 2016, LCC temporarily laid off a 59-year-old groundskeeper, the club’s oldest, for the winter season. Roughly one month later, the club posted job openings for nine groundkeepers. The club also informed the plaintiff that he would not be rehired for spring 2017 because the club was “looking to take the staff in a younger direction.” Weeks later, LCC hired nine groundskeepers, most much younger than the plaintiff.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), employers cannot discriminate based on a person’s age. The ADEA protects individuals age 40 and over from age discrimination regarding hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
The two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit has been approved and entered by the federal court, the EEOC reported. In addition to paying $30,000 in monetary relief to the groundskeeper, as part of the settlement LCC is enjoined from engaging in age discrimination or retaliation, and it has agreed to provide training on age discrimination and retaliation to its managerial employees. The club must also post a notice of employee rights under the ADEA, and report future complaints of age discrimination and retaliation to the EEOC.
“The contributions of workers age 40 and older are central to the vitality of our national economy and our local economy here in eastern Pennsylvania,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the agency’s Philadelphia District Office. “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was designed to protect those workers’ rights and their vast contributions to the American workplace, and the EEOC will continue its efforts to safeguard those rights and contributions.”
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson added, “The EEOC is committed to ensuring that older workers are not treated unfairly based on age. We appreciate Llanerch Country Club working with us to resolve this case amicably and expeditiously.”
While truly private clubs are exempt from complying with EEOC laws, the National Club Association (NCA) noted in reporting on the case, the association still recommends that clubs treat all staff fairly and equally. adhering fully to private status rules protects clubs from litigation, including costly settlements.
While golf has been played on the property in suburban Philadelphia for more than 100 years, Llanerch Country Club will be celebrating the centennial of when it was organized in 2019.
The club’s membership has approved a master plan to renovate its links-style golf course, designed by Alexander Findlay, starting in the fall of 2019, under the guidance of Renaissance Golf. The course was the site of the 1958 PGA Championship won by Byron Nelson as part of his historic streak of 11 consecutive tournament victories.
Llanerch is a Welsh word meaning “open space.”