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Employment Discrimination Update: Court Dismisses Age Bias Case Against Walmart

above-the-bar-logo.jpgThe New York Federal District Court dismissed an age discrimination lawsuit against Walmart this week which charged the retail giant with discriminating against older workers. The Court ruled that the workers did not have enough statistical evidence to prove their claims.

Plaintiff Elsie Crowell and eight other workers filed a complaint against Walmart in 2010 seeking $20 million in damages. If you have been discriminated against at your place of employment because of your age, our lawyers can help you determine the strength of your claim. Our experienced attorneys have successfully tried as well as reached favorable settlements for various types of discrimination claims.

Crowell was a former personnel manager at the Walmart store in Monticello, New York. She and her co-workers had alleged that Walmart systematically replaced older workers with younger employees and also created a hostile work environment for the older workers. Crowell has stated that she witnessed “multiple occurrences of efforts by management to implement a reduction in the older members of the store’s work force by firing older employees and replacing them with younger employees.”

Crowell’s EEOC complaint had charged that Walmart allowed its younger workers to take their breaks in the middle of their shifts, while older workers were only allowed to take breaks at the end of their shift. As another example of discrimination, younger workers who did not follow the dress code were not penalized while older workers who slightly deviated were disciplined.

In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge George A. Yanthis found that “Simply stated, there is nothing in this record to suggest that Crowell’s supervisors or Wal-Mart management created working conditions that were so intolerable that they would have compelled a reasonable person in the same situation to retire.” Although this complaint was dismissed, this will not be the last complaint filed against Walmart for age discrimination.

Walmart has often been in the spotlight with various allegations of discrimination. In 2005, a Walmart executive vice president had proposed that the company redesign its health benefits to attract a “healthier, more productive workforce.” An internal memo was made public which stated that doing so could potentially save the company $670 million by 2011. Walmart has also been accused of removing their door greeters, who are typically older workers.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) prohibits age discrimination against people who are 40 or older with respect any aspect of employment including hiring, firing, promotions, training, layoffs, and any other terms or conditions of employment. It is also illegal to harass someone because of his or her age. Simple teasing, joking around, or isolated incidents may not be illegal except when they become frequent or severe as to create a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.

Age discrimination is a growing concern because more and more people are finding it difficult to retire early. Individuals are working to an older age for a variety of reasons whether it is for health insurance, because their pensions or savings were wiped out in the market or simply because they want to work. If you have suffered from age discrimination at your place of employment, call our Age Discrimination Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you protect your workplace rights.


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