3M ACCUSED OF AGE DISCRIMINATION IN CLASS-ACTION SUIT

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3M ACCUSED OF AGE DISCRIMINATION IN CLASS-ACTION SUIT

 user 2009-05-11 at 11:44:33 am Views: 47
  • #22291

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090505-710524.html
    3M Accused Of Age Discrimination In Class-Action Suit
     Former
    and current employees of 3M Co. (MMM) filed a class-action lawsuit
    accusing the diversified manufacturer of discriminating against
    employees who are older than 46 and claiming it either fires them, or
    forces them to resign or retire.

    The complaint, filed in a
    California federal court, alleges that since at least 2001, 3M has
    discriminated against these older workers in performance appraisals,
    training, promotions and pay because “it perceives them as unwilling or
    unable to accept or adequately implement the company’s new management
    techniques.”

    The lawsuit, which so far includes about 50 men and
    women, but has a potential 6,000 current and former 3M employees as
    plaintiffs, adds that 3M tried to shield itself from liability by
    causing 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
    suit says the alleged discrimination stems largely from the 3M’s
    selection of management trainees. According to the complaint, 3M
    selects very few persons over age 45 for training as Six Sigma “Black
    Belts” or “Master Black Belts” compared to their presence in the work
    force, and selection gives younger employees huge advantages in
    subsequent employment decisions. The plaintiffs also alleges that older
    workers have been disproportionately downgraded in the company’s
    performance assessment system, with negative effects on promotion, pay,
    and termination decisions.

    The lawsuit comes on the heels of a
    similar case filed against 3M in Minnesota. It also comes as the maker
    of a broad range of products including Scotch tape and Post-It notes is
    grappling with a drop in demand and other challenges.

    Last week,
    Moody’s Investors Service lowered its credit ratings on 3M by one notch
    because of its rising debt-to-earnings ratio. The company has taken out
    debt in recent years to fund share buybacks and acquisition in recent
    years, outpacing cash flow. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services
    downgraded 3M in March, citing its declining earnings and recent debt
    issuance.Shares were down 0.9% at $57.94 in recent trading. They have
    lost roughly a quarter of their value over the past year.