The NFL is one of many sports organizations that has been the recent target of lawsuits related to employment claims. In a recent development, the San Francisco 49ers and its CEO, Jed York, have been named in an employment discrimination lawsuit. According to the complaint, two former employees have alleged the organization terminated employment due to their age. The lawsuit alleges that the organization and CEO are in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, as well as the Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA).
According to the lawsuit, two employees were fired in 2011 with the simple reasoning that the organization was “taking a different direction.” The employees have filed the lawsuit years after the termination and after exhausting other administrative remedies with the EEOC and Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The employers were given a right-to-sue letter and the litigation has been appropriately filed within the statute of limitations. The complaint alleges that Jed York wanted to hire younger tech workers, seeking to turn the organization into the “start-up” company of the NFL. The complaint alleges that disparaging comments were made about older workers, including that they “want to go play golf six days a week.”
The lawsuit claims there were widespread firings related to the initiative. Group termination of “legacy” employees ensued, even as the organization attempted to spread it over days, weeks, and months to give the appearance it was not happening to a group of employees. Under the OWBPA, legal procedures must be followed when a group of older workers are terminated. According to the complaint, the 49ers did not follow mandatory processes or procedures when terminating the older employees.
Similar lawsuits have been filed against other teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, which has been sued several times over age discrimination claims in the past five years. One of the lawsuits went to trial, but the team prevailed when the court held it had a legitimate reason to fire the employee. The current case against the 49ers is still in development and the court is likely to pursue alternative dispute resolution. An initial case management conference is slated to be held on April 10.
Age discrimination suits are becoming increasingly common, especially in Silicon Valley and throughout California where younger, high-tech workers are replacing older employees. If you believe you suffered adverse employment action related to your age, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. Our Orange County employment law attorneys are experienced in the investigation and case review of age discrimination claims. In the event that your position was terminated, you may be entitled to significant compensation or back pay.
As baby boomers near retirement and over-40 employees suffer discrimination in the workplace, it is important to have a clear understanding of your rights in the workplace. Age discrimination is illegal under California and federal law. If you believe you suffered age discrimination, be sure to consult with an experienced advocate who can effectively protect your rights.
Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 949.375.4734.
More Blog Entries:
California Employment Law: New new Donor Protection Act, December 7, 2013 Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog
California Worker Wins Wrongful Termination Lawsuit, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog