The President of a manufacturing and distribution company was in his late 50’s working under a one-year contract that automatically renewed for successive one-year terms unless either party opted not to renew within a specified time frame.
He was doing very well as the new President during his first six months. At the sixth month point, he confronted the company’s CEO about a remark made at an international sales meeting by an employee of an affiliated company, which claimant believed to be discriminatory. Within the next two months, communications and support from the CEO dropped off and he was informed in a brief conversation by phone that an executive of an affiliated company would be his successor and that his contract would not be renewed . However, because of other circumstances, the President’s contract was renewed and he was kept on for another two years for a total of three years.
In the meantime, the company selected and groomed two individuals in their 40s to succeed him. He also applied for another position in the organization for which he claimed he was well qualified and was not hired. Ultimately, he was given his 60 days notice and terminated.
The terminated President initiated a binding arbitration proceeding pursuant to a provision in his contract, claiming lost income as a result of age discrimination and retaliation.
The arbitrator determined that there was not enough evidence of age discrimination, but there was in fact retaliation. The company was ordered to pay the terminated President $229,800 for lost pay and benefits and $108,368 in statutory attorney fees and costs for a total recovery of $338,168. The company learned an expensive lesson, and the former President’s commitment to doing the right thing was validated.
Trial Lawyer for the President: Robby Robinson of Quest Law Firm
(Reported in the Verdicts and Settlements section of The Los Angeles Daily Journal in July 2007.)