Are Discriminatory Age Remarks Evidence That An Employee Was Unlawfully Fired Because Of Age?
Having represented age discrimination victims for more than twenty years, our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination attorneys know that older workers are often targeted for abusive behavior in the workplace. In far too many cases, our Crystal River, Florida age discrimination lawyers have learned, the abusive behavior includes discriminatory age comments. When an employee claims an age-based discriminatory discharge, discriminatory age remarks by an employee involved in the termination decision are the most powerful evidence of age discrimination. In the overwhelming majority of cases, discriminatory age comments by an employee involved in the termination decision are sufficient, standing alone, to get the case to a jury. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination attorneys explain how the decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hannon v. Louisiana-Pacific Corporation,536 Fed.Appx. 378 (6th Cir. 2019) illustrates that discriminatory age remarks by an employee involved in the termination decision are compelling evidence of an age-based discriminatory termination.
Worker Claims Fired Because Of Age
In that case, a woman named Hannon brought an age discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LPC), pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA makes it an unlawful employment practice for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of age. Hannon claims that she was fired because of her age in violation of the ADEA. Hannon was 58 years old when her employment was terminated.
Hannon worked for LPC in various positions from 1987 to 2015. From 1999 until the end of her employment, Hannon worked in marketing and her job title when her employment ended was “Manager, Trade Shows.” Hannon held the position of Manager, Trade Shows on LPC’s Sales Services Team from June 2014 until she was fired.
In September 2014, a woman named Depina became Hannon’s supervisor. At some point in the Fall of 2014, Depina began discussing plans to reorganize the Sales Services Team. In early February 2015, Depina terminated the position held by Hannon. Depina told Hannon that this was part of a reorganization of the Sales Services Team.
Hannon claims that Depina made several comments about Hannon’s age in the roughly five months between September 2014 (when Depina became Hannon’s supervisor) and February 2015 (when Hannon’s employment was terminated). Hannon alleges that Depina referred to her as “grandma” and “little old lady.” Hannon also clams that Depina once made a comment to her that she interpreted to be a reference to post-menopausal issues. Hannon further claims that Depina once asked about her retirement plans.
Discriminatory Remarks Prove Discrimination
The trial court dismissed Hannon’s claim that she was unlawfully fired because of her age in violation of the ADEA. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed the trial court’s dismissal and reinstated Hannon’s age-based discriminatory discharge claim. In doing so, the appellate court focused on Depina’s alleged discriminatory age remarks to Hannon. The court of appeals pointed out that the discriminatory age comments were by the employee who made the decision to fire Hannon and that the discriminatory age comments were temporally close to the termination. Based on this evidence, the appellate court considered the discriminatory age remarks to be “relatively strong evidence of discrimination” and ruled that the discriminatory age remarks were sufficient, when combined with other evidence, to permit Hannon “to present her claim to a jury.” Thus, the Sixth Circuit remanded the case to the reversed trial court with instructions to permit Hannon “to present her age discrimination claim to a jury.”
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Citrus County, FL Age Discrimination Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination attorneys have represented age discrimination victims for more than two decades. If you have been subjected to discriminatory age comments in the workplace or have questions about your protection from age discrimination under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Inverness, Florida age discrimination lawyers.