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Telling Terminated Employee To Get Job As Wal-Mart Greeter Was A Bad Idea

Published by on October 2, 2014

In a recent decision, the Eastern District of Louisiana found that a supervisor’s comments suggesting that a terminated employee should take a position stereotypically filled by older workers was direct evidence of age discrimination.  During the summary judgment proceeding, plaintiff presented evidence that after his termination meeting, a supervisor told him to “go get a […]

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_SmallIn a recent decision, the Eastern District of Louisiana found that a supervisor’s comments suggesting that a terminated employee should take a position stereotypically filled by older workers was direct evidence of age discrimination.  During the summary judgment proceeding, plaintiff presented evidence that after his termination meeting, a supervisor told him to “go get a job as a Wal-Mart door greeter”.  Further, the plaintiff presented evidence from another employee who overheard the same supervisor comment on the termination the following day.  The supervisor allegedly commented that he “got rid of the old bastard” to a colleague.  The case will go to trial now.

While the commenting supervisor did not participate in the plaintiff employee’s termination, the Court believed these comments constituted direct evidence of bias and age-related prejudice and therefore, denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment.  The Court found that the supervisor was in a position of direct authority at the work site and that his comments about getting rid of the plaintiff showed that he was at least partially responsible for the termination.  The managerial authority coupled with the derogatory comments and the close temporal proximity to the termination constituted enough factual information to create a genuine issue of material fact as to the age discrimination question.

Laconic Lookout: Making comments that are in any way related to an employee’s age places you in the danger zone.  As this case shows, a comment regarding a job stereotypically attributed to older workers can be direct evidence of age discrimination.  Whether or not age was actually related to the termination, such comments create a significant fact question as to supervisor bias.

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