The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Elkton, accusing the Cecil County town of firing an assistant town administrator because of his age.
The age discrimination lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, claims Elkton laid off Andrew P. Johnson because he was 70, even though he had received strong performance evaluations, the EEOC said Thursday.
The EEOC contends that Johnson was replaced by two younger employees, one in her 20s and another in his 40s. Johnson was hired as the assistant town administrator and finance director in 1999 and fired in November 2007.
According to the lawsuit, Elkton's mayor and commissioners initiated plans to replace Johnson in May 2007, and his age was "openly discussed as the reason for termination."
The EEOC alleges Johnson's performance was "at all times excellent." The federal agency says the town won a national award for excellence in accounting through Johnson's efforts and that he instituted programs to collect money owed to the town, increasing its revenue.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified relief, including back wages, as well as changes in the town's employment policies.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against workers who are 40 or older. Age discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC rose 44 percent between fiscal years 1997 and 2009, according to the agency.
A message left for Kevin Karpinski, a lawyer for Elkton, was not returned Thursday.