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Former pro football player claims discrimination against employer

Many of our Colorado readers know that there are a variety of ways in which an employer can engage in discriminatory behavior. Treating an employee differently due to their race or nationality is discrimination. Treating an employee differently because of a physical or mental disability is discrimination. And treating an employee differently due to their age is also discrimination. What do all of these forms of employment discrimination have in common? They are all illegal.

A recent article detailed the dilemma a former pro football player faced with his employer. According to the reports, this former player, who was a star for the Detroit Lions in the late '60's and early '70's, claims that his employer engaged in discriminatory behavior toward him due to his age. The former employee is 67-years-old.

The former player's employer was a medical center, and he has now decided to pursue a lawsuit in which he claims to have had a seriously troubled relationship with one supervisor in particular. Among the claims in the lawsuit, the employee stated that he was reprimanded for signing autographs for fans, as well as seeing his salary gradually reduced, from $80,000 eventually all the way down to $30,000. Finally, he was fired in February.

Federal law prohibits an employer from discriminating against a current or potential employee based on the person's age. In the wake of the national recession of several years ago, stories abound of older workers seeing this type of discrimination from employers, as well as having a harder time finding employment after losing a job. This type of activity is illegal, and any employer who engages in this type of behavior needs to be held accountable.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Lions legend Lem Barney sues DMC for alleged harassment, age discrimination," L.L. Brasier, March 29, 2013

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