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AT&T Under Fire for Age Discrimination in 2019 Layoffs

A class action lawsuit filed in January alleges layoffs at AT&T in 2019 were designed to get rid of older employees, and that the company attempted to get those employees to waive their right to sue the company with a form that was not enforceable by law.

Lawsuit background

At the time of the layoffs, the Technology and Operations Division (ATO) at the company claimed it was surplusing workers based on geographic location. But according to the lawsuit, the company was actually instead assigning workers to areas that would be closed based on age in a companywide purge of older employees to align with its goals of becoming more “agile.”

The suit was filed by Patrice Kantz, a former senior technical project manager who worked for the company’s Allentown, Pennsylvania office since 1991. She filed the claims on behalf of herself and other workers in her situation, stating AT&T’s actions were in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The lawsuit also alleges AT&T violated the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act amendment to the ADEA by requiring fired employees to sign a faulty waiver of their rights to sue.

Kantz accuses the company of attempting to transform its workplace and culture by favoring Gen-X and Millennial employees while phasing out older workers. She says the company’s “leaner, faster and more agile” goals use terms like “lean” and “agile” as a proxy for “younger.” She also cited the number of age-based resource groups in the company that were aimed at “young professionals” that directed employees over 50 to serve as mentors to younger employees.

AT&T issued a statement denying the allegations, saying the company does “not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

For more information about the steps you should take if you believe your company is practicing age discrimination, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.

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