In today’s constantly changing economic landscape, companies may merge and have layoffs. Yet, not all layoffs are proper and legal. Eight former employees of The Times-Picayune newspaper have filed a lawsuit against their former employer alleging such wrongful discharge or termination.
According to reports, all eight cases were filed against Advance Publications, Inc., the parent company of The Times-Picayune, after the two companies’ merged, making Advance Publications LLC a large privately held media company in the country. Though all eight cases were filed separately, they were all nearly identical. In all eight cases the plaintiffs allege ageism, noting that they were terminated by their employer because of their age. All of the employees were over 40-years of age when they lost their positions with the company.
Furthermore, all eight allege they became aware of open positions available in their company that were comparable to their own. They claim that they applied for those open positions and were ultimately rejected before being let go by the company permanently.
In one case, the plaintiff who had been working for the company for about forty years applied for an open position that was similar to hers and even willfully consented to accepting a lower salary as well as receiving fewer benefits, but she was still rejected before ultimately being let go.
Moreover, all eight employees are claiming breach of their employment contract. Specifically, they allege that The Times-Picayune job security pledge was breached. According to the terms of the job security pledge, they were all guaranteed protection from losing their jobs due to economic or technological changes. Yet, they allege that their superiors listed changing economic times as well as the changes in their industry’s technology as justification for their dismissal.
Additionally the eight wrongfully terminated individuals claim they were obligated to train their replacements who were less qualified and younger than themselves, and were threatened with cuts to their severance package and even early termination if they refused to comply. They also claim they were forced to sign their severance package terms without being given adequate time to scrutinize the terms that were listed or seek legal advice.
Even though companies are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on age, many people are let go for this very reason. Anyone who feels that were wrongfully terminated from their job due to their age should consider contacting an employment law firm to discuss one’s case, and legal options.
Source: The Louisiana Record, “Ex-employees sue Times-Picayune for wrongful termination,” Lizzy Fitzsousa, April 25, 2014