In September of 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard a case involving a Regional Rehab Director who claimed he was fired due to his age and retaliated against. (See Eades v. Brookdale Senior Living, inc., 2010 WL 3927240 (C.A.6 (Tenn))). In Eades, Plaintiff filed age discrimination and retaliation claims against his employer for violations arising under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Title VII along with similar state law claims under the Tennessee Human Rights Act. In the lower trial court, Plaintiff lost on summary judgment. Plaintiff in this age discrimination case appealed only the retaliation claim arguing that his employer offered a pretextual reason for dismissing him. This appellate court reversed the lower court on that issue and Plaintiff in his age discrimination retaliation claim was allowed to go back to court and fight-on on that issue. Plaintiff was 41 years old when he was hired and 42 when he was fired.
As for his age discrimination retaliation claim, Plaintiff complained to HR about his supervisors’ conduct right away regarding what he thought was different treatment by his boss because of his age. Plaintiff met with his supervisor, the one that he was complaining about, and other senior management to discuss his complaints. He met with them on several occasions.
Plaintiff even sent a letter informing the co-CEO’s of what he thought was age discrimination in the workplace. Based on this letter, Plaintiff met with senior management and was given an option of severance package. Plaintiff asked if he was being fired and he was told no he was not. Later that evening after the meeting, Plaintiff was called and told that he was no longer employed with Defendant company.
Plaintiff alleged that he was retaliated by Defendant firing him after he engaged in the protected activity of complaining about discriminatory treatment he received on the basis of his age. Plaintiff is correct in stating that he can raise a genuine issue of material fact by putting into evidence Defendant’s inconsistencies of proffered reasons for Plaintiff’s firing. A changing rationale can be evidence of pretext. Shifting justifications over time calls the credibility of those justifications into question. By showing that the defendants’ justification for firing him changed over time, Plaintiff shows a genuine issue of fact that the defendants’ proffered reason was not only false, but that the falsity was a pretext for discrimination.
As to this age discrimination retaliation case, Plaintiff was able to overcome the summary judgment motion by showing that there were material disputed facts and thus dismissing the case at this stage was not appropriate.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville age discrimination retaliation matter, please call and speak to a Louisville age discrimination retaliation lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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