The 64-year-old civil engineer said he has been in the Army since 1998, and has over thirty years of experience in design and construction. He says he witnessed a pattern of discrimination against older engineers, with supervisors exclaiming that younger engineers possessed skills older engineers didn’t.
When Reuben Wade saw the job requirements for a newly-opened Chief of Operations and Maintenance position within the Operations Division of the U.S. Army, he felt compelled to apply. After a series of interviews, Wade received an email indicating he had not been selected for the promotion, according to a complaint file by him in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
He was surprised to see that less than a month later, the position had been filled by a “significantly less experienced, less qualified, thirty year old individual,” according to the complaint.
He says that when he requested an explanation for the non-promotion, he was told they were looking for someone with more “dredging experience,” according to the complaint. Wade says that dredging contracts are no different than any other area of construction contract administration.
“In fact, dredging contracts are amongst the least complicated of all varieties of construction contracts,” the complaint states.
Wade says that a supervisor implied to him that the Army chose to promote the younger engineer over more qualified candidates based on his age.
Wade submitted a complaint of age discrimination through Philadelphia’s Equal Employment Opportunity office regarding the Army’s alleged failure to promote him. After an investigation, the Army gave him thirty days to request either a final Army decision or a hearing before and EEOC judge. He requested the final decision and has not yet heard back, according to the complaint.
Wade is suing on one count of age discrimination and is represented by attorney Sidney L. Gold. Judge Robert F. Kelly is presiding over the case. The named defendant is Ryan McCarthy, acting Secretary of the Department of the Army.
William Sharp, Public Affairs Officer for the Army’s Media Relations Division declined to comment in an email given the Army’s policy of not commenting on litigation in progress.