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Veteran university administrators sue for age discrimination

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination claims are on the rise. The Baby Boom generation began reaching age 60 last year, and they appear to be suffering in the job market. The EEOC says that age-related discrimination claims jumped from 16,548 in 2006 to 22,857 in 2012.

Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that older people take a big financial hit when they lose their jobs. If they’re able to find full-time work at all after a job loss, many never regain the standard of living they had before. On average, the new job pays 20 percent less than the previous one -- the biggest drop in income among any age group.

Loyally serving an organization for decades, only to be forced out just before retirement, can be an emotional blow. It was for four veteran career services administrators who were fired by Rutgers University last year. After the university got a new president, they say, the new executive team found ways to fire all of them.

The New York Times recently covered the story, and we recommend clicking on the source link below for the full details. As is common in age discrimination cases, the university gave non-discriminatory reasons for the firings, but the workers -- ages 58, 60, 63 and 64 -- believe age bias was the real cause.

The Times focused on the former career services director, who had a national reputation for excellence in his field, even winning a Fulbright grant in 2005. Since his hiring in 1990, he had received uniformly positive -- even enthusiastic -- performance reviews. Then last year, he was told he had failed to meet standards in every single area.

That unexpectedly negative review, which is also common in age discrimination cases, got him reassigned. Six months later he was fired for “neglect of duty” because he took part with other administrators in teaching an honors colloquium. The class took one hour a week, he received $750 for teaching it, and he had been doing so for the past four years without complaint.

None of the four career services administrators has been able to find full-time employment after their ignominious ousting. “This is not how long-serving, dedicated Rutgers employees should be treated,” they wrote to the new university president, with no “recognition, celebration and expression of gratitude or a simple goodbye.”

Source: The New York Times, “Pushed Out of a Job Early,” Michael Winerip, Dec. 6, 2013

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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