2nd Circuit Gives CFO's Age Discrimination Suit a 2nd Chance

January 23, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sent a former chief financial officer's age discrimination suit back to a lower court for further proceedings.

In its order, the appellate court found a jury could conclude, based on the evidence of the case, that George Carras, Chief Financial Officer of MGS 728 Lex, Inc., a shoe importer, was fired because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and other federal and state statutes.

The court said Carras satisfied the elements of a prima facie claim under the ADEA by showing that he was in his early 60s, and was therefore within the protected age group; he was qualified to be CFO — a point the parties do not contest; he was terminated; and his termination “occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.” The circumstances include that Carras was 62 years old and was replaced by a person 26 years old; and that while firing Carras, the president of the company implied that he no longer wanted to rebuff or listen to a certain coworker’s oft-repeated objections to Carras’ age.

MGS claimed Carras was fired for cost-cutting reasons; however, the 2 nd Circuit pointed to evidence that Carras offered to work for less than what he was paid in determining that a jury could conclude that the employer’s motivation for firing Carras was discrimination against his age.

The court’s order is here .