Age discrimination, FMLA violation, more alleged

As readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know, we track a number of important issues in this space. In recent weeks, we have addressed matters such as violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), incidents of sex discrimination in the workplace, concerns about maternity leave, disability discrimination and more.

But we rarely see news articles on cases involving not only FMLA, but also possible age discrimination, bullying and harassment. We did this week, though.

The case is from North Carolina, where employees at a Tyson Foods plan complained for years that a supervisor was a bully. He had been disciplined for harassment, for threatening to fire a worker for a legitimate use of overtime and for intimidation.

When Tyson hired a new plant manager, he apparently made remarks to the supervisor that the company wanted to get rid of older employees and bring in new, younger people. The supervisor was 49 years old.

When an investigation into the supervisor’s bullying behavior toward subordinate employees found that he should be terminated, he, in turn, accused the plant manager of age discrimination and said his firing was also related to his recent use of FMLA.

A federal district court in North Carolina recently ruled against the supervisor, holding that the plant manager had not been involved in his termination, which had been carried out by Human Resources.

An employment law attorney who wrote about the case noted that if the manager had been involved in the supervisor’s firing, his inappropriate age-related remarks likely would have led to a different result in the case.


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