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Press Release 09-26-2022

Lilly USA Sued by EEOC for Nationwide Age Discrimination

Company Intentionally Failed to Hire Older Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives, Federal Agency Charges

INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly USA, LLC, a pharmaceutical corporation based in Indianapolis, Indiana, violated federal law by intentionally failing to hire older workers based on their age for pharmaceutical sales representative positions from April 2017 to 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, in 2017, Lilly’s senior vice president for human resources and diversity recognized at a Leadership Town Hall that Lilly’s workforce was composed of older workers. The senior vice president then announced goals for “Early Career” hiring to add more millennials to Lilly’s workforce. Thereafter, Lilly changed its hiring preferences and intentionally under-hired older candidates for sales representative positions in favor of younger candidates based on their age.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act which prohibits discrimination against applicants age 40 and over.  The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division (EEOC v. Lilly USA, LLC, Case No. 1-22-cv-01882) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and liquidated damages for applicants subjected to unlawful age discrimination. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent and correct age discrimination and training of Lilly’s managers and supervisors about federal equal employment opportunity laws.

“Older Americans are working longer and in larger numbers than ever before,” said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District. “This case underscores the continued need for the EEOC to break down barriers to employment for those older workers.”

 “According to a recent study by the AARP, nearly 80% of older workers say they’ve seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, said EEOC’s Tampa Field Office director Evangeline Hawthorne. “The EEOC is committed to protecting the rights of job applicants to ensure hiring decisions are based on abilities, not age.”

The Miami District Office’s jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about age discrimination is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.