A Melville insurance brokerage has agreed to pay $300,000 in back wages to settle charges that it harassed three employees and fired them because of their age, a federal agency said Thursday.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued PJP Health Agency Inc. in July in federal court in Central Islip. The settlement, which isn't an admission of guilt, resolves that lawsuit.
The company's lawyer couldn't be reached for comment.
The EEOC said it took on the case because of the "egregious" nature of the discrimination. It said a supervisor of complainant Doreen Moore, who was 45 at the time, told her, "You need more make-up because of your wrinkles."
Moore, who worked in the sales-support unit, was denied a promotion in favor of a much younger, inexperienced worker, the agency said. And after complaining, Moore was terminated, the EEOC said.
"Our hope is that supervisors, particularly younger ones, as was the case here, do not continue to feel emboldened to harass and terminate older employees," EEOC senior trial attorney Sunu P. Chandy said.
The other complainants were office manager James Massimino, 57, at the time, and assistant clerk Gregory Winfield, 61. They were fired and replaced with considerably younger employees, the EEOC said. How much each receives in back pay will depend on how much they earned.
The EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers and job seekers 40 and older.
In October, PJP agreed to surrender its insurance license after the state Department of Financial Services accused it of enrolling consumers in plans without their knowledge. A lawyer for the agency said PJP and two executives agreed to give up their license rather than face costly litigation.
The EEOC said the company is still operating but a new company, Key 2 Health Agency, last year took over PJP's primary office, in the Huntington Quadrangle. Key 2 Health has some of the same executives as PJP.