Maui Police Dept. to pay $24,000 to settle age discrimination lawsuit

The County of Maui will pay $24,000 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed against the Maui County Police Department by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Tuesday.

The EEOC filed suit against the county in 2013, charging that the police department failed to hire Lars Sandstrom because of his age, a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

The suit alleged that Sandstrom applied for a police officer position with the police department and met all of the qualifications for the position, including a bachelor’s degree and extensive military and life experience. Despite these qualifications, the EEOC contended that Sandstrom was not selected for the position even though other less qualified younger candidates were hired during the time in question and comments were made about Sandstrom’s age during his interview.

As part of the settlement, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree providing $24,000 in damages to Sandstrom.

The decree also requires the Maui County Police Department to designate an equal employment opportunity monitor to ensure the department’s compliance with the ADEA and anti-discrimination policies and procedures. The monitor will also focus on ensuring that the department creates and implements recruitment strategies designed to encompass an applicant pool of all potential employees, regardless of age.

“Age discrimination remains a problem, making up 19 percent of all EEOC charges filed in Hawaii last year,” said Glory Gervacio Saure, local director of EEOC’s Honolulu office. “This settlement reinforces EEOC’s steadfast commitment to ensuring that workers who are unjustly discriminated due to age have recourse.”

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