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Woman Wins Multimillion-Dollar Age Discrimination Suit in California

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A top performer at Florida-based Bass Underwriters' Sacramento office, Barbara Anderton, was terminated from her position after working for nearly 15 years at her employers' underwriting firm. In 2013, Anderton, who was 61 at the time, brought legal action against her employer for age discrimination, alleging that she had been wrongfully terminated in favor of a younger male colleague who was promoted into her position. He still holds the position today

age-discrimination-california-woman-awarded-millions-lawsuit.jpg

A top performer at Florida-based Bass Underwriters' Sacramento office, Barbara Anderton, was terminated from her position after working for nearly 15 years at her employers' underwriting firm. In 2013, Anderton, who was 61 at the time, brought legal action against her employer for age discrimination, alleging that she had been wrongfully terminated in favor of a younger male colleague who was promoted into her position. He still holds the position today.

Bass Underwriters' attorneys have denied Anderton's claim saying she left the job due to a "family dispute" at the company (her brother Joe is an executive VP). But recently, a Sacramento Superior Court jury awarded Anderton a multimillion-dollar judgment in the age discrimination suit. The jury decided that Bass Underwriters discriminated, harassed, and retaliated against Anderton because of her gender and the fact that she was nearing retirement age. Anderton's employment law attorneys argued that Bass Underwriters violated California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

In 2010, Anderton began to notice that Bass Underwriters' Sacramento office was growing younger and more male. According to the complaint, at age 58, Anderton's age was becoming a liability, and she had become a target. Her attorney depicted a "boys' club culture" at Bass Underwriters of all-male golf excursions, and patterns of the company choosing men over women for new positions and promotions.

After Anderton lobbied for a promotion for a long-tenured female subordinate, she allegedly got "pushback" from executives at Bass Underwriters. She was even questioned by executives about her age and whether she planned to retire. One corporate VP asked her directly, "You're getting ready to retire, right?" and went on to ask, "How old are you anyways?" He then suggested a possible successor, according to the complaint. Anderton wasn't planning to retire until age 65.

"The biggest thing to me is the people who go through this and have no recourse," Anderton stated outside the courthouse. "What happens? They lose their houses. They lose their dignity. We have a lot to contribute."

"It's been a hard journey to go through this," Anderton said, adding later, "I think of the thousands of women who go through this and have no chance of standing up to these corporations. Stand up for yourself. You have to. I toed the line, but you have to stand up for yourself."

The jury awarded Anderton $2 million in compensation as well as $2.75 million in punitive damages . Bass Underwriters plans to file an appeal.

Department of Fair Employment and Housing statistics show that accusations of employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation remain all too common in California. 71,649 age discrimination, retaliation and harassment accusations were filed between 2011 and 2014.

Read the full story from the Sacramento Bee: Carmichael woman wins multimillion-dollar age discrimination suit

Watch the video: VIDEO: Sacramento jury awards $4.75 million in damages in age discrimination suit

If you feel that your employer is violating California employment law, rest assured that experienced workplace discrimination lawyers are here to fight for your employee rights. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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