SW Legal studies in Business

Employees Pressured to Retire Stated Claim for Age Discrimination Suit

Appeals court held that two waitresses who claimed they were pressured to retire and given inferior assignments and time schedules, had made a sufficient claim of age discrimination for their suit to proceed.

Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Age Discrimination; Hostile Work Environment; Retaliation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Kassner and Reiffe were 79 and 61 years old and had worked as waitresses at 2nd Avenue Deli for decades. They contended they were pressured by the owner, Lebewohl, and several of his subordinates, to retire. Kasser said she was degraded by comments, including “drop dead,” “retire early,” “take off all of that make-up,” and “take off your wig.” When Kassner and Reiffe complained, they claim they suffered retaliation by being given inferior work shifts and work stations and were told “there’s the door.” They sued for age discrimination. The district court dismissed the suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Plaintiffs appealed.

Vacated and remanded. The claims by plaintiffs that they were assigned less desirable work stations and work shifts than younger wait-staff states a valid cause of action for age discrimination. To comply with the pleading requirements of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, plaintiffs need only provide a short and plain statement of the claim that shows they are entitled to relief and that gives defendants fair notice of plaintiffs’ claims. That standard was met, so the suit should proceed. Further, the degrading remarks made to Kassner also create a cause of action for hostile work environment and retaliation.

Citation Kassner v. 2nd Avenue Delicatessen, Inc., 496 F.3d 229 (2nd Cir., 2007)

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