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Jury awards $31 million in age discrimination case

A jury has awarded $31 million to a woman in an age discrimination case in California.

The plaintiff alleged that she was forced to quit after enduring abuse from her superiors at a medical tech company.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury ordered the company to pay the plaintiff $28 million in punitive damages. The award comes on top of a $3 million compensation award she won in the case.

The 58-year-old plaintiff alleged she quit after being subjected to abuse from her superiors. The woman worked as a materials buyer and planner in locations across southern California. She quit in October 2014 because of the stress of the job. She was replaced by a male in his 20s.

The woman’s supervisor and his boss would say "you are outdated," "we need younger workers here" and "dumb female,” the lawsuit alleged.

The jury found that the employer acted with malice, oppression or fraud and accepted the employee's claim that she had been the victim of age harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation.

Why age discrimination is illegal

In 1967, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects the rights of older workers and bars discrimination based on age. 

Yet only 3 percent of working older adults who experienced age discrimination in their workplace filed a formal complaint, according to a report published in June by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“It is difficult to measure with any accuracy the prevalence of discrimination in the workplace,” the report said. “Charges filed with federal and state enforcement agencies represent a fraction of the likely discrimination that occurs in the workplace.”

Have you been discriminated against?

If you have faced age discrimination, contact an attorney who has experience with these types of cases.

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