age, discrimination

What a great service you offer.

I am 52, employed for 12 years as an outside salesperson. I was the #1 sales person 5 years. I was fired they say because they are reducing the outside sales force. In my region, consisting of 10 people...the two people let go were over 50. ( both with better sales than most of the region)

These two people. including myself, had more sales than 70% of the other people in the region.

2000 top salesperson
2001 top 5 in number of sales
2002 top 5 in number of sales
2003 (only 15 days of sales before fired) : top sales person

do I have a case?

they are increasing the number of inhouse sales people while reducing the number of outside sales people...

However, why let two 50 year olds go when others with less sales are allowed to stay and the towns they call on are larger than other salesmen.

company sells to the government and construction minorities in the outside sales force, ( i am white)

I am offered : 3.33 hours of pay for every month I have worked minus the first year.

finally, they say they are reducing the outside sales force, however I heard thru other reps they may start to hire outside reps in other parts of the country who were fired also

Our human resourse person, when i asked about discrimination said " oh no we have a 2-1 ratio of persons let go under 40" response was that may be so, but maybe there sales made you fire them and I have a great sales history.

Do I have a case?

thanks so much,

1 answer  |  asked Jan 25, 2003 09:44 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Do you have other, direct evidence of age discrimination?

Hi Roger:

An employer is allowed to make an illogical and even outright dumb employment decision without committing age discrimination. To prove age discrimination, you need to show that you were treated differently than others within your age group (i.e., the outside sales force members under the age of 40) and that the different treatment was because of your age. To show that the different treatment was because of your age, courts look for age related remarks and similar evidence.

Be aware that, in a reduction in force situation, the employee has an even tougher time proving that his or her age played a role. Finally, if the company can, in fact, show that it terminated those under 40 at the same rate as those over 40, you may lose the benefit of statistics. It becomes very difficult doing a statistical anaylsis where you have to control for performance (i.e., those under 40 deserved to be fired while those over 40 did not). Finally, to the extent that the company can point to legitimate reasons for the reductions (moving its sales force in-house or moving to a different product line), it can justify the terminations on that basis.

That said, if the employer gives a "pretextual," or phony reason for your termination as a cover up for the real reason, courts will accept the pretextual reason as evidence of discrimination.

If you would like to discuss your particular claim in greater depth or analyze the adequacy of the severance offer, we offer an initial consultation for a fee of $200.00. Call Cheryl at 330.665.5445, ext. 0 if you are interested and she will get you on my calendar.


Neil Klingshirn

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jan 27, 2003 10:39 AM [EST]

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