NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory agreed to pay $10 million and revamp its employment practices to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the Pasadena lab illegally laid off workers over the age of 40, according to a settlement agreement obtained Wednesday.
According to the document, filed last week in Los Angeles federal court, JPL will pay $10 million into a fund for older employees who were allegedly fired and methodically replaced with younger workers.
JPL denied any wrongdoing, according to the agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the EEOC on a resolution to bring the matter to a close,” said JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor.
“The lab has a longstanding commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace, free of discrimination. JPL is stronger because of our diversity and we value all our colleagues at every stage of their career.”
The consent decree states that since at least 2010, JPL “systemically (and) disproportionately adversely impacted employees aged 40 and older for layoff and rehire compared with employees aged 39 and younger,” in “willful” violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Under the settlement, JPL agreed to appoint an employment monitor, a diversity director and a layoff coordinator. The agency also agreed to track future layoffs and attempts to place employees into new positions.
The names of the plaintiff employees were not included in the document.
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