Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Citigroup Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Age Bias Case

Citigroup Global Markets has been ordered to pay $500,000 to a former branch manager who alleged the company fired him because of his age. The arbitration award against the firm found that the firm violated Florida's civil rights statute in 2008 when it terminated the branch manager.

Age discrimination cases are extremely difficult to prove in FINRA arbitrations, given the limited amount of discovery, and the reluctance of arbitration panels to order discovery regarding terminations and human resources issues. I was therefore eager to learn what it was that caused this particular panel to award a half a million dollars in damages.

The FINRA panel did not explain its reasons for the decision, but according to an article in Reuters, the branch office manager began to hear from other branch managers who told him they were being "forced" back into broker positions and replaced with younger employees. His manager made frequent remarks about age. For example, he said that the manager was "getting kind of long in the tooth" for the job, and "When you reach your age, you should think of retirement and not working," according to the Reuter's article. The article also claims that the manager then engaged in a series of actions against branch manager, including giving him a "final warning" for alleged employee complaints and reducing his bonus by 3 percent as a penalty for an alleged customer complaint, according to the document. The branch manager was eventually "offered" a position as a broker while on family leave after his sister died. Citigroup replaced him with a 42-year-old manager, according to the article.

Citigroup unit to pay $500,000 in age bias case - Yahoo! News
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