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Age Discrimination Was Unfair Business Competition

Nestle Discriminated on Basis of Age, CA Court Says

LOS ANGELES, CA -- July 3, 2003 -- A California court of appeal affirmed a $5 million award against Nestle U.S.A. Inc. for age discrimination. The company engaged in unfair business competition by discriminating against older workers in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), according to the court.

"An employer that practices age discrimination has an unfair competitive advantage over employers who comply with the FEHA because older workers frequently are more highly compensated than their younger colleagues," wrote 2nd District Justice Joan Klein. She upheld a lower court ruling prohibiting Nestle "from discriminating on the basis of age, 40 and over, in promotions of employees." Nestle was also directed to repudiate its memo which required "hiring, identifying and developing young people..." These prohibitions or injunctions were justified under the California Business and Professions Code ยง17204.

The original age discrimination complaint was filed by Richard Herr, a 45-year old manager who was repeatedly denied promotions at Nestle even though he was well-qualified for the positions. These job openings were filled by younger less-qualified or even unqualified employees. Nestle was also on record as having a policy to "promote young, energetic people in management positions."

The complete text of Richard Herr v. Nestle U.S.A., Inc. is on the web site of the Court of Appeal of the State of California for the Second Appellate District. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access it. If you do not already have the software installed on your computer, you may download a free copy. For information about age discrimination and your legal rights, please feel free to contact the attorneys at Brayton Purcell, either through this web site or at our offices.

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