January 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 27

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Federal Court: Sweeping Accusations Alone Do Not Meet The Standard For Age Discrimination and Retaliation

As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s  FY 2019 report reflects 21.4% of all employment charges handled in 2019 were for age discrimination; 41.4% of all charges allege retaliation. Recently, seven former directors of a grocery store chain filed suit alleging age discrimination and retaliation arising from alleged transfer to failing stores and denial of the same job opportunities as younger employees. 

Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc. A federal district court in Illinois dismissed the claims due to the absence of proof of adverse personnel actions. The lack of evidence was established, in part, by reinstatement after a medical leave and the lack of proof that age factored into a discharge decision. In the end, the Court held that “despite their sweeping accusations, they [plaintiffs] each fail to present enough evidence of Jewel’s discriminatory or retaliatory animus or adverse actions sufficient to support claims of discrimination or retaliation.”

A word to the wise. Personnel decisions should be supported by provable, documented business reasons. Internal dispute resolution procedures should be available to seek redress for what employees see as unfair adverse personnel decisions. And, lastly, a group claim waiver in an arbitration agreement could have avoided a seven-plaintiff lawsuit that likely would have ben confusing to a jury.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume X, Number 76
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About this Author

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Jackson Lewis is a law firm that offers legal advice to employers through the many laws that impact on every aspect of an employer’s decision and ability to develop and implement a strategic, comprehensive preventive labor relations program. We provide labor advice to all employers – whether entirely unionized, entirely union-free or partially unionized – in every industry.

While the National Labor Relations Act has always applied to employees regardless of union representation, the Board’s decisions and initiatives in the...

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