The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an age discrimination suit against Venator Group Inc., alleging that the company fired hundreds of workers over the age of 40 at its former Woolworth chain and replaced them with younger ones. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that the practice was implemented by individual store managers and approved by the company's personnel staff from at least 1995 until the five-and-dime chain was closed in 1997. A spokeswoman at New York-based Venator said the company does not comment on pending litigation. Last year, Woolworth changed its name to Venator to shed its five-and-dime image as it shifted its focus to athletic apparel and sporting goods. The allegations involve only the Woolworth stores.