A jury has awarded a former LA Times sports columnist $7.13 million after deciding that his employer had discriminated against him based on his age and disability. Before being pressured into resigning, the 65-year-old man was making $234,000-a-year as a sports columnist.
The former columnist described facing workplace discrimination due to suffering from complex migraine syndrome following a stroke. In the months that followed his diagnosis, he describes being demoted multiple times, having his column reduced from three to two times a week, and then being demoted to a blogger. According to the former columnist, LA Times editors were attempting to replace him with a writer half his age. The LA Times disputes these claims and has argued the former columnist violated ethical standards by using his status as an LA Times columnist to pursue outside ventures.
However, decades of favorable performance reviews for the former columnist suggest he was a dedicated and talented worker up until his resignation.
How You Can Fight Disability and Age Discrimination
Age and disability discrimination have become very common, often times occurring together in cases, as it did with the former LA Times columnist. In many cases, employers are looking for an excuse to hire younger workers for less pay. However, the practice of firing an employee based on his or her age, and in most cases disability, is illegal under equal employment laws.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers with 20 workers or more from discriminating against workers 40 years or older. Unfortunately, this law has not stopped employers from firing or treating older workers unfairly. According to a survey released by the American Association of Retired Persons, also known as the AARP, two-thirds of workers between the age of 45 and 73 have seen and experienced age discrimination.
Age discrimination is especially brutal for older workers, as it can put their ability to save for retirement at risk. Discriminating against employees based on age and disability can also be illegal, and affected workers may have legal options.