TALLAHASSEE, FL (August 15, 2017). A jury of six men and women ruled today that one of Florida’s largest health insurers committed age discrimination by denying my client, a heavily-experienced optometrist, a promotion to a senior management position. He was 63, with 34 years of overall eye-care experience, 22 years of experience managing optometry practices, and advanced degrees and training in biology, neurophysiology and vision science. The person promoted, also an optometrist, was just 34 years old, had barely five years of experience, and had earned a single undergraduate degree in what appeared to be an agricultural field of study.
I argued to the jury that my client’s skill set was so vastly superior that there could be no explanation but blatant age discrimination. It agreed, and awarded my client an amount equal to what he lost if he had been promoted. The employer, Capital Health Plan (CHP), is an enormous health-maintenance organization that generates about $800 million a year in revenue.
My client is still employed with CHP and returned to work as normal following the trial.
CHP’s eye care unit employed seven optometrists at the time. Five applied for the newly-created management spot. Four of those five were in their late 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. None were chosen despite the fact that most of them had at least twenty years’ experience. My client testified that after complaining of age discrimination, one official openly told him that “there comes a time in your career when you’re just not going to advance any further.” Another senior CHP official leaned toward him in a meeting and allegedly said, “Just who do you think you are to be telling us who we should choose?” Evidence presented at trial showed that after CHP received his internal age-discrimination complaint it changed its explanations for the promotional decision multiple times in order to cover up the real motive.
Age discrimination is very real. Many workers in their 50’s and 60’s find themselves being fired on bogus grounds to make way for much younger, less experienced employees. And older workers often find it impossible to locate new work.
If you feel you have experienced age discrimination, talk to an expert in employee rights. There are many forms of relief available to remedy this kind of discrimination. You don’t have to tolerate it. No one does. A jury made that clear today.
Florida & Georgia Employee Rights Lawyer
Categories: Age Discrimination