19 Dec 2011

Compensation sought from American Samoa government

6:52 am on 19 December 2011

The American Samoa Government will have to pay out double the loss of wages if a class action can prove it willfully discriminated against older workers.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking the government to court for violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

The attorney heading the case, Michael Farrell, says they are still assessing how many older workers might be affected and says the Commission is seeking compensation.

"If we can establish that this violation was wilful, that it was a wilful violation, then we would get double damages, in other words we would get the amount of lost wages or benefits times two."

Michael Farrell says in one case a woman, who had worked in a government department for decades, was informed she was being involuntarily re-assigned not long after a staff meeting where the department head said individuals 50 or over should think about retirement or the private sector.