- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma-based oil and gas drilling company will pay $650,000 to resolve a lawsuit filed on behalf of a fired worker and hundreds of unsuccessful job applicants who claimed they were victims of age discrimination.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity announced the settlement on Friday with Purcell-based Horizontal Well Drillers LLC.

The agency alleged in its lawsuit that the company fired a rig hand based on health information obtained from an unlawful medical exam and rejected rig hand applicants older than 40 because of their age.

“Oil rig drilling positions are physically and mentally demanding,” EEOC regional attorney Andrea Baran said in a statement. “But that doesn’t mean people over 40 can’t do them successfully.”

The company liquidated and ceased business operations in 2019, the EEOC said.

An attorney for the company, John Tucker, said the company did not admit liability as part of the agreement. He declined to comment further, saying the court documents speak for themselves.

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