An agreement in which NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will 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 has been finalized, it was announced Wednesday.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, JPL will pay $10 million into a fund for older employees who were allegedly fired and methodically replaced with younger workers.

JPL, which denied any wrongdoing, was “pleased to have worked collaboratively with the EEOC on a resolution to bring the matter to a close,” JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor said.

“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,” she said.

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.

“We commend JPL for its willingness to commit to compliance with the ADEA, for already making proactive efforts to implement much of the injunctive relief, and for taking measures that will have a positive impact on older employees,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles district. “We encourage other employers to follow JPL’s lead and review their hiring and recruitment policies and practices to make sure they are in compliance with federal law.”

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