Lawsuit alleges Hub Labels did not hire man because of his age

October 04, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

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HAGERSTOWN ? A lawsuit has been filed against Hub Labels Inc. after the company allegedly told a man he was too old to work at the Hagerstown business.

In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission says Hub Labels did not hire Clarence Stottlemyer because of his age. The Clear Spring resident is 60 years old.

The EEOC alleged that Hub Labels violated federal law when the company refused to hire the applicant after he interviewed there in April. Stottlemyer is asking for back pay and other damages, but the amount is not specified.


Phone calls to Hub Labels Inc.'s corporate vice president, Tony Dahbura, were not returned Wednesday. A phone call to the company's chief financial officer, Ed Jacobs, also was not returned.

A woman who answered the phone at the company Wednesday afternoon said that Jacobs was not prepared to talk about the lawsuit because the company had not received a summons.

According to the civil complaint, Stottlemyer applied to be a label catcher for Hub Labels. The company on Shawley Drive in Hagerstown manufactures pressure-sensitive labels and related products, according to its Web site.

Debra Lawrence, supervisory trial attorney, said that position required lifting, sometimes in excess of 40 pounds.

She said there was a "stereotypical assumption" that Stottlemyer could not do the job because it required heavy lifting. Lawrence said that Stottlemyer previously worked for Eastalco Aluminum Co. in Frederick, Md.

"He was no stranger to physical work," Lawrence said.

During an interview with his potential employers April 2, Stottlemyer wanted to demonstrate that he could do the job. The position required that he remove labels from the conveyor, place them on a scale, and also start and stop the conveyor, Lawrence said.

A shift supervisor who was interviewing him allegedly refused to allow him to demonstrate, according to the lawsuit.

The EEOC claims that no one from the company's human resources department would respond to Stottlemyer's inquiries about his employment.

"Employers must make employment decisions based on the applicant's ability to perform the duties of the job, not on age-based myths and stereotypes," EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair said.

Lawrence said that before the EEOC files a lawsuit, the organization first tells the company that it violated the law and then tells the employer what it can do to fix the situation without a lawsuit being filed. Additional information is given to the employer about any policies or training that are deficient.

The employer can decide whether to accept the conditions, which could include paying back salary, or face a lawsuit.

Lawrence said a court date has not been set, but that the civil complaint would be heard before a jury. She said it was too soon to tell whether Hub Labels Inc. would attempt to settle out of court.

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