The Rosebud Restaurant in Chicago has been sued for age discrimination under the federal age discrimination statute. Daniel Miller, a 71-year-old man who worked for the restaurant for twenty-five years and served as its general manager, was dismissed without cause, according to the lawsuit. He was replaced by a younger man he had been asked to train before his dismissal. Chicago lawyer Eugene Hollander, who represents Miller, discusses the lawsuit in this report.
Hollander explains that several facts point to age discrimination. For one, says Hollander, the restaurant’s owner, Alex Dana, asked plaintiff Miller when he planned to retire. Miller was over age forty at the time of his discharge, he trained his replacement, he performed as expected by Rosebud, and he was replaced by a much younger person. All of these facts strongly show a case of age discrimination, Hollander says.
The restaurant has also had some trouble with the EEOC regarding racial discrimination. There have also been two pregnancy discrimination cases, and Hollander handled those. While they are not directly relevant to the current lawsuit, “they do tend to show the employer’s mentality.”
Hollander notes that there are valid reasons for an employer to fire an older worker. Any employee who doesn’t perform the job can be fired. If a company is downsizing, terminations can be expected. Also, if you fire an older employee and the replacement is about the same age, that would tend to rebut any claim of age discrimination. On the other hand, when a 71-year-old employee is replaced by one who is 25, a jury could find age discrimination.
The plaintiff in this case worked for a quarter of a century at the restaurant and considered the owner a friend. “He feels betrayed, he feels devastated.” He looks forward to his day in court.
Rosebud Restaurant has released a statement saying that it “has a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination of any type.”
Eugene K. Hollander is a principal in the Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander, Chicago, Illinois. He has served as a prosecutor with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, where he successfully prosecuted numerous individuals on the trial and appellate levels. Before opening his own office, Mr. Hollander associated himself with several aggressive litigation firms where he represented a Fortune 500 corporation in the defense of its labor claims, and successfully defended a class action contract claim at trial. He was recently selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer based on a statewide survey of practicing attorneys. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.