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Age Discrimination Lawsuit Alleging Worker Fired Because Of Age Settled By EEOC


Having represented age discrimination victims for more than twenty years, our Ocala, Florida age discrimination attorneys know that older workers are often subjected to derogatory remarks about retirement, including comments about how they should retire or are eligible for retirement. In some cases, derogatory comments about retirement or retirement eligibility reflect a desire to get rid of older workers because of their age. In other cases, derogatory remarks about retirement or retirement eligibility reflect a prohibited age-based stereotype about older workers—older workers are more likely to be less committed to the job because they can retire at any time. In this article, our Marion County, Florida age discrimination lawyers explain how the alleged facts in a recent age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrate that remarks about retirement or retirement eligibility can constitute evidence that an older worker was targeted for termination because of age.

Age Discrimination Lawsuit

In a press release issued on March 29, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving an age discrimination lawsuit against Burrow Global Services, LLC (Burrow Global). On February 7, 2020, the EEOC filed the age discrimination lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Burrow Global Services, LLC, Case No. 4:20-cv-00423, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. In the Consent Decree, which was endorsed by the U.S. District Court on March 29, 2021, Burrow Global agreed to pay $50,960 to settle the age discrimination lawsuit.

Legal Rights Of Older Workers

The EEOC brought the age discrimination lawsuit pursuant to the Age Discrimination Act (ADEA), on behalf of a former employee of Burrow Global, Michael Raibon (Raibon). The ADEA makes discrimination on the basis of age an unlawful discriminatory employment practice. The ADEA protects employees from age discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, wages, demotion, promotion, job duties, and termination. In order to come within the scope of the ADEA’s protection from age discrimination, an employee must be at least forty years of age. The EEOC claims that Burrow Global violated the ADEA by firing Raibon because of his age.

Employee Claims Age Discrimination

In January 2014, Burrow Global hired Raibon, who was born in 1953, for the position of I & E Design Coordinator. Although an employee of Burrow Global, Burrow Global assigned Raibon to work at a Chevron Phillips plant in Baytown, Texas.

In February 2017, Raibon was assigned a new supervisor, Orellana, who was substantially younger than Raibon. During one of the first meetings Raibon had with his new supervisor, Orellana asked Raibon if he was saving for retirement. After this meeting, Orellana made additional derogatory remarks to Raibon about retirement. For example, Orellana often stated to Raibon that Raibon was old enough to retire, and asked Raibon questions such as, “when are you going to retire?” and “what are you doing with your money now, just saving for retirement?” On another occasion, after Raibon called to the office to report that he would be late for work, Orellana told Raibon upon his arrival, “I thought you had retired.”

On June 22, 2017, Orellana sent an email to upper management employees advising them that he was preparing a performance review for Raibon and putting Raibon on a “formal process improvement plan.” However, Burrow never informed Raibon that he had been placed on a “formal process improvement plan.” On July 3, 2017, Raibon received a copy of the performance review, but the performance review contained no indication that he had been put on a “formal process improvement plan.” Instead, the performance review stated “revisit evaluation in 60 days,” which Raibon understood to mean that he and Orellana would meet to discuss this work performance sixty days from the evaluation.

On August 17, 2017, Orellana sent another email to upper management employees stating that, “I’m planning on releasing Michael today.” In the weeks leading up to the email, Orellana had fired two other employees who were older than 45 from a work group that had approximately 15 workers. Later that day, Orellana called Raibon into his office and told Raibon that “Burrow Global no longer needs your services.” When Raibon asked why he was being fired, Orellana refused to give him an answer. After firing Raibon, Burrow Global replaced Raibon with an employee in his thirties.

Attorneys For Age Discrimination Victims

The EEOC, which is an administrative agency of the federal government, is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the federal labor laws making discrimination, harassment, and retaliation unlawful employment practices. As part of its statutory mission of promoting equal opportunity in the workplace, the EEOC files lawsuits in federal court on behalf of employees victimized by unlawful discriminatory employment practices, including age discrimination. In a press release issued by the EEOC on March 29, 2021 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, Rudy Sustaita, explained that the “ADEA protects workers age 40 and over from adverse actions taken on the basis of age.” The EEOC “will continue to bring lawsuits to enforce the law,” Mr. Sustaita added, “in instances where age was a cause of an adverse employment action.”

Age Discrimination Attorneys In Ocala, FL

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida age discrimination lawyers have dedicated their practice to representing victims of employment discrimination, including victims of age discrimination. If you have endured age discrimination in the workplace or have questions about whether you have been unlawfully discriminated on the basis of age, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida age discrimination attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take age discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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