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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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If one of the largest retailers (say, Target) is systematically

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If one of the largest retailers (say, Target) is systematically eliminating Store Managers who have average to above average review scores, sales and productivity, and have been chosen as the elite that receive year end stock options, all around the time they are turning 40, and then give said managers severance packages that contain several documents stating that the managers will not sue for age discrimination, does this red flag as discriminatory? I know at LEAST 10 former Store Managers in southern CA that fit this, none of whom had any disciplinary action started before the severance package was offered.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Good morning and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

Proving age discrimination is never easy, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to raise the evidentiary threshold for such claims by ruling that a plaintiff alleging age discrimination must prove that "but for" their age, the same adverse employment action would not have been taken. (See Gross v. FBL Financial here: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&navby=case&vol=000&invol=08-441)

Basically, an age discrimination claimant can no longer prove that age was one motivation of several--they must prove that their age was the driving force behind termination above all other things, and they must prove this by a preponderance of the evidence.

The above noted, "not easy" does not mean impossible, and the facts you describe create a strong circumstantial argument for discrimination, especially because this is happening on a large scale and the managers being forced out have been high performers.

Your friend would be wise to consult with a local employment law attorney to determine whether his facts are strong enough to bring a legal claim and forgo his offer of severance. It may very well be that he has a case worth aggresively pursuing, but of course further inquiry is in order.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.

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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
California Employment Lawyer
7530 Satisfied Customers
Significant experience in all areas of employment law.