A former employee of the publishing company Penguin Group has filed a legal complaint against the publisher for wrongful discharge due to age discrimination. The complaint should remind Minnesotans that age discrimination is a real concern and that it may be prevalent in even in the most well-known and well-respected companies. It should also inject employees with the courage to speak out against such discrimination.
A 56-year-old female former spokesman for Penguin, who had worked for the company for nearly 27 years, has decided to sue the publisher. She claims that the famous publisher has engaged in age discrimination. In her lengthy description of the internal practices of the company, the 56-year-old former employee describes numerous instances of harassment based on age. She claims that her responsibilities were diminished. She also accuses executives of desiring younger, faster employees. The former employee goes on to explain that she was ultimately forced to resign. Now, she is suing Penguin to recover lost pay and punitive damages.
The former Penguin employee should serve as role model to Minnesota employees. The law is clear — age discrimination is a prohibited practice by employers. In particular, the Minnesota Human Rights Act as well as the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects employees that are 40-years-old and over. The laws establish that it is illegal for an employer, like Penguin, to discriminate based on age in the working world in such areas like benefits, work assignments, hiring, firing and promotions. If an employer does engage in such practices, an older employee may have a real claim for damages like lost pay.
Age discrimination is an unfortunate practice in today’s working world. Workers in Minnesota should be cognizant of this reality and speak out if such discrimination is occurring in their workplace. They may be entitled to significant damages.
Source: StarTribune.com, “Ex-Penguin spokeswoman sues publisher, alleging discrimination; publisher declines to comment,” Sept. 5, 2012