The Maine Human Rights Commission this week agreed with three women who claimed they were discriminated against because of their age when Shaw’s laid off hundreds of full-time workers in New England three years ago.

The commission ruled Monday that the chain’s actions in 2012 had a disparate impact on older workers, who made up the bulk of the full-time employees.

The commission voted unanimously that the company discriminated against the three workers who filed claims because the policy decision to lay off only full-time workers primarily affected older employees.

In a separate unanimous vote, the commission rejected a claim that the company engaged in age discrimination in its treatment of the three. Under Maine law, the commission can differentiate between treating someone in a discriminatory way and enacting policies that result in discrimination.

Jeffrey Young, the Augusta lawyer who represented the three, said he and Shaw’s can now try to negotiate a financial settlement. If they are unable to, Young would have to file suit against Shaw’s, seeking back pay and up to $500,000 each in damages. Young is representing Lorraine Scamman of Saco, Theresa Charette of Sanford and Dorothy Riley of Windham. All three women had worked for Shaw’s for more than 30 years and were age 55 or over at the time of the layoffs.

If Young does file suit, nearly 60 other Mainers who were laid off by Shaw’s could potentially join the legal action, he said.

Shaw’s did not respond to a request for comment.

The layoffs followed a dismal third quarter for Shaw’s parent company, Supervalu Inc., whose revenues declined 7 percent that quarter amid intense competition. The company shed 700 jobs across its chain of 169 Shaw’s and Star Market stores throughout New England. The company retained 17,000 employees.