Current and former employees of 3M have filed a class action suit against the company alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
The complaint, filed in California federal court, alleges that 3M has discriminated against older workers, specifically workers aged 46 or more, with respect to pay, training, promotions and performance appraisals since at least 2001.
The complaint states that, "it [3M] perceives them as unwilling or unable to accept or adequately implement the company's new management techniques." The complaint further alleges that 3M fires or forces these older employees into retirement or resignation. And, in an effort to protect itself, the company has forced departing employees to sign releases that misrepresent their rights and fail to give them required information necessary to determine whether they have been the victims of age discrimination.
The potential class for this case could exceed 6,000 individuals, and is the second such case facing 3M. A judge in Minnesota recently certified a class of older former and current employees in a lawsuit in Minnesota. Reportedly, the judge in that case noted that the evidence "strongly suggests a consistent pattern across 3M's business units of disparities suffered by older employees in each of the human resources practices challenged." The Judge also observed that "[t]he policies established by 3M executives suggest strategies that favor younger employees to the detriment of members of the proposed class."