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Court orders arbitration for age discrimination case against Rams

The Missouri Supreme Court ordered an age discrimination lawsuit against the St. Louis Rams to go to arbitration because of the provisions of the employment contract of the plaintiff, a former equipment manager for the team. The man filed the lawsuit in May 2012, a year after he was let go.

According to the lawsuit, the longtime equipment manager was 54 when he was fired in 2011 after working with the Rams since he was 11 years old, when he started helping his dad with the equipment. In 1978, he joined the team's official staff and was promoted to equipment manager by 1986. In 2009, the lawsuit claims, the newly appointed head coach made remarks to the equipment manager regarding his age. One of the remarks was that the man was too old for the job, and another remark was that the man's employment was not for long. He was let go from the position in January 2011, only 10 months short of qualifying for extended health coverage and early retirement.

The following year, the head coach was fired after a lackluster three seasons. However, the lawsuit notes that at least six more employees were forced to retire or fired during his leadership. The individuals ranged in age from 54 to 70 and held positions from trainers to security personnel. The court has directed that a neutral arbitrator be appointed.

Discrimination laws prevent employers from demoting, firing or treating workers differently because of their age. Those who believe that they are the victims of age discrimination could submit complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the help of an employment law attorney.

Source: CBS St. Louis, "Rams Age Discrimination Case Heads to Arbitration," April 28, 2015

Source: ESPN, "Todd Hewitt cites age discrimination," May 31, 2012

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