After 30 years of hard work and dedication to a popular NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers, Bob Sarlatte, field announcer, was allegedly fired on the basis of the team “going in a different direction” according to Rob Alberino, vice president of the 49ers in 2014. Sarlatte believes age discrimination is the real reason behind his termination along with several other older employees.
Sarlatte recently filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Jose against the team. According to the team’s termination history, Sarlatte identified a pattern of firing older employees in order to transform into a “younger technology-driven organization.” Restructuring the brand and location to the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, in a way that eliminates current and future older employees could cause numerous age discrimination complaints. In spite of the negative backlash and commentary, the 49ers pursued their plan of action.
Jed York, CEO of the 49ers, hired the team’s chief strategy officer, Gideon Yu, in 2011. Based on the age discrimination lawsuit, Yu would often address the senior employees as “legacy employees.” Most of the older employees found this term to be degrading in the Silicon Valley technology field.
In 2012, York said he was primarily seeking young employees from the Silicon Valley technology companies. He believes these individuals “did a lot of cool things before they turned 40 years old, and they don’t want to go play golf six days a week.” This tactic could be a fantastic business move, but not if it generates a higher cost than benefit.
Termination sparked a Negative Effect on Sarlatte’s Life
Alberino had Sarlatte under the impression that the field announcer position was being completely eliminated after he left. Bob Sargent, a young broadcasting worker, replaced Sarlatte quickly after his departure.
Sarlatte began to feel “physically ill and emotionally distressed.” He also suffered a major wage loss. Going forward, Sarlatte and his age discrimination attorneys will be seeking compensation to cover the wage loss and other punitive damages.
Surprisingly, Sarlatte is not the only older employee who believes the 49ers discriminate against employees due to their age. A year ago, Sarlatte’s attorneys filed an age discrimination suit against the team on behalf of two other senior employees, Anthony Lozano and Keith Yanagi. Lozano was the former facilities manager of the team who was terminated at 56. Yanagi was the director of video operations who was fired at 59.
Lozano and Yanagi age discrimination lawsuit concluded with a classified settlement in October after the 49ers denied the accusations indicating they’re responsible for age discrimination against their ex-employers.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects Older Employees
According to the EEOC, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 “prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older.” Each individual who claimed to be a victim of age discrimination with the 49ers were over the age 40.
Although the former employees who filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the 49ers prior to Sarlatte accepted a settlement, there is a good chance the age discrimination attorneys could have sought the well-deserved justice, and set an example for all NFL teams to ensure that they treat all of their older employees with respect.
The ADEA covers state and federal governments or employers that have 20 or more employers. If you are an employee or former employee who experienced age discrimination in the workplace in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact the age discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our age discrimination attorneys are skilled beyond measure to help you with your case. In the event that another employment violation such as sexual harassment or workplace retaliation occurs or ties into your age discrimination case, our retaliation lawyers and sexual harassment lawyers are available for assistance as well. For more information on age discrimination violations in the workplace, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim.