As the population ages, there are frequent claims from older workers that allege their employers discriminate against them. In some cases in Houston, companies may be accused of trying to force out more seasoned employees in order to bring in younger staff. Such allegations can quickly devolve into employment litigation that involves a host of accusations, as one recent incident illustrates.
In 2013, a meteorologist in Bryan and College Station, Texas, took medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The 59-year-old, who had worked for 23 years at the station, claimed that a stressful workload and long hours led him to seek treatment at a Houston facility for both depression and exhaustion. In a lawsuit filed against the station, the man claims that he was forced to work the holidays in 2012 when his co-workers younger than 40 were given time off. Additionally, the man alleges that while he was on leave, the news station advertised an open meteorologist position even though FMLA should have protected his job. The general manager of the station said it was a coincidence.
Upon his return to work, the man said that his general manager reprimanded him for the effects that his medical condition caused. Just days later, the man was fired and replaced by an employee younger than 40 who did not have a disability. Prior to filing this lawsuit, the meteorologist had filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging both retaliation and age and disability discrimination. The EEOC granted the man the right to sue in late May of this year.
The meteorologist’s contract stated that he could not be terminated without cause. His lawsuit claims violations against FMLA, age and disability discrimination and breach of contract, among other things. People embroiled in employment litigation should seek the help of an attorney in order to protect their best interests.
Source: The Southeast Texas Record, “Meteorologist files federal lawsuit against Texas TV station,” July 29, 2014