WINCHESTER, TN (WRCB) -- TEPRO, Inc., a manufacturer of automotive parts, violated federal law by subjecting a class of 20 or more employees to age discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

The EEOC's suit alleges that TEPRO, operating a facility in Winchester, Tenn., targeted and terminated employees on account of age, while retaining younger employees. TEPRO told older employees that they had to accept demotions or lose their jobs, and then eliminated those jobs anyway. 

TEPRO is a Tennessee corporation and subsidiary of the Kinugawa Rubber Industrial Co., a Japanese manufacturer of automotive parts with overseas facilities.  TEPRO supplies automotive parts for various automobile manufacturers. 

The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and liquidated damages, reinstatement, and an injunction against future discrimination and retaliation.

"Systemic age discrimination is of great concern to the EEOC, and we will do our job to eradicate it," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi.  "Employers cannot discharge older workers based on discriminatory stereotypes."