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EEOC Alleges Age Discrimination Where Employer Wanted To Create A More Youthful Work Environment

age discrimination, 3D rendering, a red waving flag

In a press release issued on September 30, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Davis Automotive Group, Inc., d/b/a BMW Cleveland (BMW Cleveland) pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA protects employees from discrimination on the basis of age. The EEOC’s allegations of unlawful age discrimination illuminate the type of systemic age-based discrimination older workers experience because, as observed by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Graefenhain v. Pabst Brewing Co., 827 F.2d 13 (7th Cir. 1987), “many employers or younger business executives act as if they believe there are good business reasons for discriminating against older employees.”

Employees Claim Discriminatory Discharge

On September 27, 2019, the EEOC filed the age discrimination lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Davis Automotive Group, Inc., d/b/a BMW Cleveland, Case No. 1:19-cv-02257, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. The EEOC has brought the age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of former employees of BMW Cleveland, Avery Wieder (Wieder) and Ronald Wesley (Wesley). The EEOC claims that BMW Cleveland fired Wieder and Wesley because of her age in violation of the ADEA. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against BMW Cleveland.

EEOC’s Allegations Of Wrongful Discharge

BMW Cleveland is an automotive dealership. Wesley began working for BMW Cleveland in November 2011. Wieder’s employment with BMW Cleveland began in August 2012. Wesley and Wieder were employed as salespersons. Their duties included selling and leasing new BMW automobiles. The EEOC claims that after hiring a new General Manager and Sales Manager in 2016, the dealership “sought to create a more youthful work environment, discouraging the employment of older individuals and hired less qualified individuals in their twenties and thirties.” As part of the desire to “create a more youthful work environment,” the EEOC alleges that Wesley and Wieder were continuously subjected to derogatory age-related remarks, including that they had been around since Ford created the automobile, that they were too old to relate to millennial customers, that they were too set in their ways, and that they were too old to do their jobs.

In October 2017, BMW Cleveland fired Wesley, then age 70, and Wieder, then age 67, even though they were performing their jobs in accordance with the dealership’s expectations. When they were terminated, Wesley and Wieder were the oldest salespersons in the Sales Department. At the time of their termination, BMW offered no reason for firing Wesley and Wieder. Over the next several months, according to the EEOC, BMW Cleveland continued to hire salespersons, most of them in their twenties and thirties and all with less experience that Wesley and Wieder.

EEOC Protects Rights Of Older Employees

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. In enforcing the federal anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of employees who are unlawfully fired because of their age. In a press release issued by the EEOC regarding the case, a Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, Debra Lawrence, stated that “[f]ailing to employ and discharging qualified people because of their age is not only unfair, it is against the law.” Ms. Lawrence added that the EEOC “will continue to combat these abhorrent employment practices that violate federal law as well as common justice.”

Consultation With Inverness Age Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination attorneys have almost two decades of experience representing employees who have been fired because of their age. If you have experienced age discrimination at work or have questions about your protection against age discrimination under the federal anti-discrimination laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination lawyers. 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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