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The City of Beverly Hills faces age discrimination suit

At age 66, Cynthia Brynan had worked for the City of Beverly Hills for decades. Serving as a Senior Recreation Supervisor, Ms. Brynan alleges that she first faced age discrimination once she entered her 60s. Her complaint points to being passed over for promotions, stripped of meaningful work, given menial tasks, and being eventually forced to quit.

The City filed a motion to dismiss portions of Ms. Brynan’s lawsuit, but the Los Angeles Superior Court denied its motion. Ms. Brynan, with Allred, Maroko & Goldberg’s Gloria Allred serving as her co-counsel, will therefore continue her lawsuit with all claims intact.

Brynan experienced a pattern of discrimination

Ms. Brynan had been temporarily filling the position of manager for several months when the permanent position became available. Interested in the full-time role, the City forced Ms. Brynan to take the interview while out on medical leave after knee surgery. In addition, the City would not allow her to reschedule and forced Ms. Brynan to interview over Skype while still heavily medicated.

The City hired a 35-year old woman, not Ms. Brynan, to the full-time position. The new hire lacked management experience comparable to Ms. Brynan’s. Ms. Brynan spoke to her manager and said she believed that age played a role in the City’s hiring decision.

In response, the City refused to provide Brynan with $2,500 of Special Assignment Pay that it had awarded her the previous 7 years running. After M. Brynan brought the issue to her union representative, the City again responded with retaliation, including by taking away Ms. Brynan’s meaningful work duties and shunning her. Over time, the City reduced her work to more menial tasks and continued to pass her over for promotions. Eventually, the City’s abuse forced Ms. Brynan to quit.

What legal protections do employees have?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees over the age of 40 from age-based discrimination. This can include many aspects of your job, including pay, hiring, firing, project assignments, benefits or failing to be promoted. The act does not protect employees under the age of 40 from discrimination.

Ms. Brynan’s experiences illustrate many of the signs of age discrimination. She was repeatedly denied promotions, pay and lost meaningful assignments. It’s important for all employees to know the extent of their rights and to look for any of these discriminatory actions.

What should you do if you suspect age discrimination?

If you suspect age discrimination, report it immediately. Depending on where the harassment is coming from, speak with a manager, supervisor or Human Resources.

If your employer fails to stop the harassment once it is reported, you may want to take legal action. To file a claim, you will need to show that your employer’s actions were tied to your age and not other outside factors.

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