The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing American Samoa, alleging the U.S. territorial government discriminates against older workers.

According to the complaint filed Tuesday (Aug. 30, 2011) in Hawaii, the director of the territory's human resources department told employees 50 and older in 2009 that they should retire so younger (read: cheaper) workers could take their place. The EEOC lawsuit further claims that those who did not retire were transferred to undesirable positions by Evelyn Langford, the HR director.

Around January 2009, the governor of American Samoa made a speech "encouraging our territory's top-level career service employees to take up retirement or move to the private sector" and that by freeing up those positions jobs can be provided "for our children returning from school," the lawsuit notes.

The legal action seeks relief for Esneiaso Liu, 61, and other older workers who were either discharged or reassigned. Ms. Liu started work as a clerk in 1968 and rose to chief of the personnel division in 2004. After the meeting with Ms. Langford, however, Ms. Liu was reassigned to another position without an office or parking spot, according to the EEOC.

The lawsuit alleges American Samoa violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Employers, take this as a lesson. Get yourselves a copy of Personnel Concepts' ADEA Age Discrimination Compliance Kit to ensure you're in full compliance with the law.