The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is urging about 470 workers who were laid off from McDonnell Douglas Corp. to ignore the company's effort to settle age-discrimination claims individually.
The commission said the $5,000 payments that McDonnell offered to many of the ex-employees were inadequate.
"We recently rejected a much larger settlement offer from the company because it did not come close to providing full relief. . . ." St. Louis EEOC Director Lynn Bruner said in a notice sent to the former workers.
The EEOC has concluded that McDonnell discriminated against workers 55 and older when it laid off about 5,000 people between May 2, 1991, and Feb. 28, 1993.
About 170 of the older workers filed discrimination complaints with the commission.
The investigation that followed showed that 300 more workers might have been affected by the company's actions, Bruner said.
McDonnell has denied that it discriminated against the workers and has vowed to "vigorously defend" itself against any lawsuits.
The EEOC and McDonnell have been negotiating since February 1993 to settle the current case.
But the two sides failed to reach agreement by a June 1 deadline, so the EEOC is preparing to sue.
The commission, in its notice to …