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Disney Hit By Age Discrimination Lawsuit


The quintessential red flag indicating age discrimination occurs when an employee over the age of 40 is fired and replaced by a worker under age 30. The Walt Disney Corporation was hit with a lawsuit last week which accused them of taking that kind of unlawful action against one of their long-time employees. Kevin Brady, the former head of the company's story department and a 26-year Disney veteran, claims Disney has a pattern of firing long-term employees and hiring younger, less experienced workers in their place.

According to the complaint, Brady began his employment with Disney in 1987 as a temporary employee in the Story Department. He became a full-time employee in March, 1988, was promoted to the position of Secretary in the Story Department in March, 1989, and remained in this position until 1993. In July, 1993, he was promoted to Script Coordinator and he held this position until February, 2004. At that time, Disney promoted him to Acting Head of the Story Department, and then promoted him to a Senior Manager position in the Story Department in June, 2004. In July, 2005, Brady was promoted to Director and head of the Story Department, and he held this position until he was terminated on June 9, 2013.

Disney's president of motion pictures, Michael Sean Bailey, later told Brady he was getting fired because they were eliminating his position and because the company was making fewer movies than it used to. Both of those claims are false, according to the suit.

One of Bailey's assistants, in her late 20s or early 30s, was eventually promoted and took over all Brady's responsibilities. Though the title was different, the job was nearly identical to the one Brady had had for the past 10 years, he claimed. Brady also alleges Disney made more movies in 2013 than it had in previous years and is on track to make a similar number this year.

Brady also claims Disney failed even to consider him for the new job. Brady tried to apply using Disney's electronic job system in May 2013 after learning about the new position, but the system would not accept his resume, the suit says. When he asked for help, a human resources recruiter told him his timing was "bad" and that the position was no longer available.

Brady is seeking lost wages, future earning and punitive damages.

If you see a pattern of your company hiring only younger employees, or if you are turned down for a position that you apply for and see it given to a less-qualified younger employee, it may be a sign that the company is discriminating due to age. In the event you're the victim of age discrimination, gather your notes and evidence and go see an employment lawyer in your state, so that you can find out whether you have a potential claim and what you need to do under your state's laws.

If you have been subject to unlawful age discrimination in your New York workplace, contact the attorneys at Schwartz and Perry LLP. We can help you enforce your legal rights.
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