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December 2017

Gordon & Rees San Diego Employment Team Obtains Summary Judgment in Age Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Case

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani partner, Gina Haggerty Lindell, and associate, Carrie Stringham, obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client, a world renowned, Five Star Resort and Spa, against the plaintiff, alleging age discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, wrongful termination, and whistleblower protections.

The plaintiff, a sixty-seven year old former IT Manager, alleged his employer terminated him based on his age following a concerted effort by the employer to “paper” his employee file with negative performance reviews with the intent of replacing the plaintiff with his much younger assistant.  The assistant ultimately assumed the plaintiff’s position after his termination.  In addition, the plaintiff alleged he was wrongfully terminated after complaining to his superior about alleged illegal software licensing.  

In their motion for summary judgment, Gordon & Rees attorneys argued the plaintiff could not make a sufficient showing of intentional age-based discrimination on the part of the employer as the plaintiff was hired by the employer at the age of sixty-three and there were legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for his termination which were well-documented in his personnel file. In addition, the attorneys argued the plaintiff could not possibly have been terminated for complaining about insufficient software licensing as he was responsible for securing the licenses and he was not terminated until nearly five months after he made the alleged complaints meaning there was no connection between his termination and any supposed protected activity. 

In entering summary judgment in favor of the client, the court accepted Gordon & Rees's arguments, finding the plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence of intentional age discrimination by the employer or create any genuine dispute as to the proffered reasons for his termination.  The court also concluded the plaintiff failed to establish a nexus between his complaints of alleged illegal activity and his termination. 

Carrie A. Stringham