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January 29, 2015

Panel: Shaw’s workers faced discrimination

The Maine Human Rights Commission has ruled in favor of three women who alleged that Shaw’s Supermarkets discriminated against them because of their age when they were laid off among hundreds of workers in 2012.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the commission voted unanimously on the ruling on Monday, saying that the supermarket chain’s policy decision to lay off mainly full-time workers had a distinct impact on those who were older because most of them were full time.

However, the commission made a separate ruling finding that Shaw’s did not discriminate in its treatment of the three women because of their age. Maine law makes a distinction between discrimination based on treatment versus discrimination spurred by a policy.

An attorney representing Lorraine Scamman of Saco, Theresa Charette of Sanford and Dorothy Riley of Windham — all of whom were 55 or older when they were laid off — said the three will attempt to reach a financial settlement with Shaw’s. If not, they will file a lawsuit for back pay and up to $500,000 each in damages.

Shaw’s has not commented on the ruling.

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