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Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog

Employee Fired After Being Told That Store Manager Was “Going After Older People”

old employee gets fired

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of age.  Patterned after Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADEA prohibits discrimination based on age against employees aged 40 and over.  “One purpose of the ADEA,” as explained by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hilde v. City of Eveleth, 777 F.3d 998 (8th Cir. 2015), “is to ensure that [employees] are evaluated on their merits and not their age.”  Despite the ADEA’s mandate of equal treatment, 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 employees or younger business executives act as if they believe there are good business reasons for discriminating against older employees.” Read on to learn more about proving age discrimination.

Having litigated age discrimination cases for almost twenty years, our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination lawyers have learned that older workers continue to face significant disadvantages in their efforts to retain employment.  Indeed, although the ADEA was passed in 1967, employers still act as if they believe there are good business reasons for discriminating against older workers.  Echoing the observation by the Graefenhain court, the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in Carr v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 2018 WL 2329673 (S.D. Cal. May 23, 2018) illustrates that older workers continue to face significant obstacles in their efforts to retain employment.

Remark Reflects Employee Fired Because Of Age

In that case, Linda Carr (Carr) brought an ADEA action against Home Depot USA, Inc. (Home Depot) claiming that she was fired because of her age.  Carr worked at Home Depot as a kitchen/bath designer.  Carr was sixty-four years old when she was fired.  Home Depot terminated Carr’s employment in July 2016.  According to Carr, an assistant store manager told her in April 2016 that one of the store managers was “going after older people.”

In May 2016, Carr spoke up against the company’s push to sell cabinet re-facing because she felt that it was not always in the customer’s best interest to re-face rather than put in entirely new cabinets.  Later that month, store management met with Carr to discuss her “apparent negative attitude and declining morale.”  During the meeting, Carr shared that she felt she had a “target on her back” and was “just waiting to get fired.”  In July 2016, a customer approached Carr regarding a product, but Carr “told the customer that she was unable to assist him.”  Later that month, Home Depot terminated Carr’s employment because she allegedly intentionally refused to help the customer.

Home Depot filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Carr’s age discrimination claim.  Home Depot argued that its decision to fire Carr was supported by Carr’s history of performance and customer service issues.  Consequently, Home Depot maintained that Carr could not establish that the reason for her termination was a pretext for age discrimination and Carr could not bring her age discrimination before a jury for resolution.

The trial court denied Home Depot’s motion for dismissal.  In doing so, the trial court focused on the remark by the assistant store manager that one of the store managers was “going after older people.”  The trial court found that a reasonable jury could conclude that the assistant manager’s “statement constitutes substantial evidence that Home Depot fired [Carr] in part because of her age.”  Thus, the trial court concluded, it was for a jury to decide whether Home Depot fired Carr because of her age.

Free Consultation With Citrus County Age Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we have been fighting for the rights of victims of age discrimination for almost twenty years.  If you have been the victim of age discrimination or have questions about an employer targeting you for termination because of your age, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Citrus County, Florida age discrimination attorneys.  Our employee rights law firm takes 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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