Defense Verdict in Employment Discrimination Case

June 20, 2023

Steven Schwartz and Rebecca Verble won a defense verdict in an employment age-discrimination case in Jackson County, Missouri. Plaintiff was a vice president of a non-profit organization that provided drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services. The CEO gave the plaintiff a disciplinary notice that identified several issues with her behavior. The plaintiff was given 48 hours to provide a plan of action to show that she was willing to change her behavior. Plaintiff did not provide a plan or show she was willing to take responsibility for her actions or that she was willing to change. Instead, she claimed, for the first time, that she had been discriminated against based on her age (46 years old) because the CEO had, in the past, brought up her high salary. Plaintiff believed her high salary was connected to her age. Plaintiff was thereafter terminated because she refused to take responsibility for her actions and refused to show a willingness to change her behavior. Plaintiff claimed her termination was in retaliation for her complaint of discrimination. Defendant argued that the complaint of discrimination was a ruse because it was brought up only after plaintiff had been disciplined, and it there was no connection between plaintiff’s salary and her age. Plaintiff sought $500,000 in actual damages plus punitive damages and legal fees. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant.