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Was Age 60 The Magic Number For Age Discrimination At Lawndale High?

Roberleigh Richester began working for the Centinela Valley Union High School District in 1999. In 2008, he received the “Security of the Year” award at Lawndale High. In 2012, at age 63, he retired from the school district, claiming he had been discriminated against because of his age since he turned 60.

Richester is fighting back against his former employer. He has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit claiming age discrimination and is seeking damages for the four years of employment he lost, along with other damages. Richester had intended to retire at 67, but left the district at 63 after three years of harassment, discrimination and feeling targeted for discipline.

In his employment discrimination lawsuit, Richester claims that he was treated differently than his colleagues simply because they were younger than he is. In several instances, Richester was singled out for discipline – sometimes very public discipline – but his coworkers were not, despite having worked together in the questionable incidents.

Richester responded to an instance of inappropriate sexual conduct on campus with another security officer, eventually detaining the male student involved. After reporting the incident to an Associate Principal, the administrator vouched for the student’s integrity and did nothing about it. Instead, Richester was reprimanded in front of several students for what the administrator was calling racial profiling. The other security officer with whom he confronted the student was left completely out of the discipline process. That officer was 41.

Both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protect employees from age-based discrimination in the workplace.

Source: The Sun, “Former chief security officer of Lawndale High sues for age discrimination,” May 4, 2013

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