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June 2022

Gordon & Rees Dallas Team Obtains Complete Defense Award in Age Discrimination Arbitration

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Dallas Partner Kirstie Simmerman and Of Counsel James Greer obtained a complete defense award for a national auto dealership following a four-day arbitration before a Dallas JAMS arbitrator.

Claimant was a general manager who resigned from his employment after being demoted for sustained failures in leadership. Following his resignation, Claimant alleged that the company constructively terminated him based on his age, national origin and in retaliation for engaging in protected activities. Claimant relied heavily on a quote attributed to his successor that “you have better results when the managers are young” to support his claims.   

Prior to arbitration, the Arbitrator granted summary judgment in favor of the dealership regarding Claimant’s national origin and retaliation claims, finding that Claimant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Arbitration went forward on the sole remaining claim for age discrimination.

After four days of conflicting testimony, the Arbitrator found that the dealership established a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for Claimant’s demotion. Claimant failed to show that the employer’s reason was pretextual, and Claimant did not establish age-based animus on the part of the relevant decision-makers. The trial team successfully argued that the statement regarding younger managers was not evidence of discriminatory intent, as the speaker was not involved in the adverse employment action and did not have influence over the relevant decision-makers. This argument was aided by testimony from Claimant’s own “star witness” that she did not believe the statement was made on behalf of the company.    

Ultimately, in light of the evidence and arguments advanced by Gordon & Rees, the Arbitrator returned an award rejecting all of Claimant’s allegations, finding that Claimant did not meet his burden of proof, and awarding no damages against the dealership.

Suzanne McLaughlin and Anita Soto provided support during arbitration.

Kirstie M. Simmerman