Bain Mazza & Debski is so proud to announce that we successfully tried an age discrimination case in San Mateo County at the end of March 2016. Our client was a salesperson for a Swedish company with an American subsidiary in Foster City that sells software. He was hired at age 60 and terminated 2.5 years later at age 62. The CEO made the decision to fire him and he was not involved in his hiring at all. He was allegedly fired for poor performance, but his direct boss never told him he was doing a bad job, there was nothing about poor performance in writing, and his boss testified that he was a good employee and he did not think he should have been fired. There was also a younger salesperson on his team who was performing worse but not fired until 5 months after our client (and after we sent a demand letter), but the company said that was because he was newer and they were still giving him a chance to ramp up (he’d been there just under a year when our client was fired). A few months before our client was fired, the CEO said in a company-wide meeting “we have a lot of people getting old and retiring, we need to work on recruiting younger people” and “I don’t want to have to worry about people retiring in the future.” He also said he wanted to “make the company younger” to our client’s boss, who repeated that to our client and his coworker. The boss also told our client that he should be worried about his job because of his age. The CEO lives in Sweden and did not appear at trial.
The jury came back for us 11/12 on our age discrimination, failure to prevent, and wrongful termination claim, and 12/12 on a small breach of contract claim (his contract said they had to pay him for 60 days if they fired him without cause and without notice). They awarded just under $300,000 which was the exact amount we had asked for ($132,000 in wage loss, $150,000 in emotional distress, and $13,000 on the contract claim).
It was a huge team effort for our firm and we’re so thrilled with the result!