General Mills must defend itself against new allegations of age discrimination, following a recent complaint filed by 29 former employees in Minnesota federal court. Each was terminated in 2014 and 2015 at a time when General Mills was undergoing a multiyear corporate restructuring. The plaintiffs claim that employees age 40 and older were three times more likely to be terminated than their younger co-workers – a statistically improbable outcome. To that end, the complaint notes that workers in their 20s had only a 2.6% chance of being terminated during the restructuring, while workers in their 60s had a 21.4% chance of losing their jobs.
In further support of their allegation, some of the plaintiffs claim they were asked to train their younger and less experienced replacements. Yet other plaintiffs observed that their positions were advertised as open even after their layoff. The plaintiffs – who range in age from 42 to 63 – held varying titles at General Mills including nutritional scientist, marketing director, and financial analyst. In 2015, a similar lawsuit was filed against General Mills in connection with a separate restructuring. That case, which was also filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, has since grown to include 38 plaintiffs.
Employees receive broad state and federal protection against age discrimination in the workplace. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, codified at 29 U.S. Code Sections 621-624 and amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, bars employers from engaging in discriminatory practices aimed at workers over the age of 40. Additionally, Pennsylvania employees may invoke the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act when they believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of age. Unlike federal law, the Pennsylvania statute covers smaller companies, including those with as few as four employees.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Fight for the Rights of Older Employees
Employees cannot be fired or otherwise mistreated simply because of their age. Employers who fail to abide by the law can face stiff fines and penalties, as well as a lawsuit from aggrieved workers. For over 40 years, Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates have represented workers who have been mistreated by their employers. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a form of employment discrimination, call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia offices, where we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as New Jersey and New York.