Lory Fabian, a former alumni coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, has filed suit against the NFL team alleging age discrimination. According to her lawsuit, the Rams have been consistently firing middle-aged women and replacing them with younger workers.
Fabian is not alone in her age discrimination allegations against the Rams. Todd Hewitt, a former equipment manager, filed a similar lawsuit, claiming that he was discriminated against based on his age when he was fired from a team to which he'd devoted his entire career.
When she was let go, Fabian was one month shy of her 55th birthday. Hewitt was 10 months from turning 55 when he was fired. The Rams have established early retirement benefits that kick in at 55, including 10 years of health insurance benefits.
The rights of workers over 40 are protected by the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Workers in California are also protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
The ADEA prohibits employers from:
- Posting job ads that mention age or specify a preferred age of applicants
- Limiting training programs based on age
- Retaliating against an employee for making an age discrimination claim
- Forcing employees to retire at a certain age
An employer violates the ADEA if it does not comply with these requirements or if it acts in a manner that has a disparate impact on employees over 40. In Fabian's lawsuit against the Rams, she claims that the Rams systematically fired older workers to replace them with younger workers willing to put in longer hours than those being replaced.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Another ex-Rams worker files discrimination suit," June 22, 2012