Best Ohio Age Discrimination Attorney Answer: Can I be fired for complaining about my supervisor’s offensive comments about my age? Is it lawful for my employer to make comments about my age? If I was fired today because my boss said I am too old, can I sue my employer for wrongful termination?
As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged before, your employer cannot find ways to get rid of older employees simply to make its workforce younger. (See I Was Fired Today Because My Employer Wants A Younger Workforce. I Need An Age Discrimination Lawyer; My Boss Fired Older Workers To Save On Healthcare. Can I Sue For Age Discrimination? I Need A Lawyer In Ohio!; and Can My Company Layoff Only Older Workers? Top Age Discrimination Lawyer Answer).
Recently, an Alabama jury awarded James King over seven figures for his claims of age discrimination. In the suit, King v. CVS Caremark Corp., King alleged he was a pharmacist for CVS who worked for the company for over seven years. Towards the end of his employment, King claims his pharmacy supervisor began asking him questions about when he planned to retire. King’s supervisor also began telling King that he should buy an annuity and retire. King also reported that his supervisor also made similar comments to another pharmacist, who ended up giving testimony as a witness for King. King found that after his 65th birthday the comments increased in frequency to the point that he expected to hear the age based comments every time he saw his supervisor.
In August 2011, King complained about his supervisor’s comments to numerous CVS employees. King complained to local employees, corporate employees, and emailed a complaint that was acknowledged by CVS on September 12, 2011. On September 20, 2011, King’s supervisor suspended and subsequently terminated King.
In the order denying CVS’s request to dismiss King’s claim, the Court held that King presented enough evidence to counter CVS’s proffered reason for the termination. Even though CVS claims that King was terminated due to providing a patient’s husband with 90 pills of a schedule 3 narcotic medicine without a valid prescription, and without making the patient’s husband pay for the pills. Due to the supervisor’s comments to both Harris and King, and some inconsistencies in the supervisor’s recollection regarding the events leading to King’s termination and reasons for the termination itself, the court allowed King to proceed to trial:
In addition to the age-based comments directed towards him, Mr. King points out that Mr. Berguson treated another older pharmacist, Roger Harris (“Mr. Harris”), the plaintiff in the Harris action, similarly. Although Mr. Harris did not work at the Pell City CVS store, Mr. Berguson did supervise him. According to Mr. Harris, Mr. Berguson would ask him how old he was, inquire when he was going to retire, and refer to him as “old man.”
Mr. King also has demonstrated inconsistencies in Mr. Berguson’s handling of Mr. King’s suspension and subsequent discharge. See Combs v. Plantation Patterns, 106 F.3d 1519, 1538 (11th Cir.1997) (“The district court must evaluate whether the plaintiff has demonstrated `such weaknesses, implausibilities, inconsistencies, incoherencies, or contradictions in the employer’s proffered legitimate reasons for its action that a reasonable factfinder could find them unworthy of credence.’” (quoting Sheridan v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., 100 F.3d 1061, 1072 (3d Cir.1996))). More specifically, Mr. Berguson initially told Mr. King that he was suspended pending a review of his conduct by the Alabama Pharmacy Board. However, even though the record lacks any proof that the Alabama Pharmacy Board concluded, after its investigation, that Mr. King had engaged in any wrongdoing from its standpoint, CVS nevertheless still terminated Mr. King’s employment.
The foregoing evidence is sufficient to create a triable issue regarding pretext on Mr. King’s discriminatory discharge claim. In sum, the record contains “`evidence of such quality and weight that reasonable and fair-minded men in the exercise of impartial judgment might reach different conclusions.’” See MacPherson v. University of Montevallo, 922 F.2d 766, 776 (11th Cir.1991) (quoting Verbraeken v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 881 F.2d 1041, 1045 (11th Cir.1989)). More particularly, as to pretext, “[t]he evidence presented by plaintiff is sufficient to allow a jury in the exercise of impartial judgment to conclude that [CVS’s] proffered explanations are unworthy of belief.” MacPherson, 922 F.2d at 776. Alternatively, a reasonable jury could equally conclude that CVS’s articulated reasons for firing Mr. King are legitimate and not a pretext for discrimination under the ADEA. Therefore, summary judgment is DENIED on Mr. King’s ADEA discriminatory discharge claim.
Just like King, employees in Ohio have protection from age discrimination at their workplace based on federal and state law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02(A) are in place to protect employees in Ohio from being treated differently based on age. Ohio laws make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer to “discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against that person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment” based on several protected classes, including age.
If you are an employee over the age of 40 years old and believe that you are being discriminated because you are older than other employees; or have be wrongfully terminated or fired instead of someone younger or were replaced with some younger than you, you may have an age discrimination claim under Ohio law or the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Even if you are not sure about your age discrimination claim, you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. Age discrimination claims have very short statute of limitations, which means that you only have a very short amount of time to figure out if you have an age discrimination claim and take action. It is unlawful for employers to treat older employees differently. At the free initial consultation, you can tell us the specifics about how “my boss did …” or what happened on “my job.”
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