Age Discrimination Is Not What The Doctor Ordered

When the Dr Pepper Snapple Group began marketing its 10-calorie soft drink, Dr Pepper Ten, with a campaign declaring the new beverage “not for women,” the editorial board of the Western Front chided the company for “open discrimination and prescribing outrageous gender stereotypes.” However, if the price of Dr Pepper products increases next year, it will actually be the result of a multi-million age discrimination verdict.

The Dallas Business Journal reported on December 12, 2011, that the Plano-based company is planning to raise prices by as much as 2 percent next year after saying that an $18.3 million age discrimination verdict could affect the company’s bottom line in 2011. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the suit was filed in March 2009 on behalf of six workers over the age of 50 who claimed they were reassigned to do physically harder work in an effort to injure them or get them to quit. The reassignments left some of the six employees, all of whom had worked for the soft drink and juice company for at least 20 years, medically unable to work after suffering knee problems, hernias, and other injuries.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the discrimination at work was alleged against Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group Inc., which is now the American Bottling Co. Both are subsidiaries of Dr Pepper Snapple, which was spun out of Cadbury in 2008. Cadbury is now owned by Kraft Foods Inc., and the Journal said Dr Pepper Snapple plans to appeal the decision.

Eight jurors unanimously found in favor of the plaintiffs in this employment discrimination suit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported more than 20,000 age discrimination claims each of the past three years, and employers may be likely to continue seeking ways to eliminate the higher wages earned by longer-tenured employees in a down economy. If you are age 40 or older and have felt pressured to quit or retire, our Los Angeles employment lawyers want to hear from you. Did you ever feel that a current or past employer increased the level of physical demands upon you because of your age?

Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorneys