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Senior agency in South Florida faces age discrimination lawsuit

A 69-year-old South Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against her former employer alleging disability discrimination as well as age discrimination. Ironically, her former employer is an agency that provides resources to senior citizens and caregivers.

Employment records show that the woman worked for the agency for just five days in July of 2010. In her lawsuit the woman alleges that she was fired one day after she informally disclosed her breast cancer to another employee.

She says that while training at headquarters during her first few days, she asked the human resources director a question regarding a future doctor's appointment. It was a routine follow-up visit, as the woman had undergone breast cancer surgery in 2009.

Her lawsuit alleges that she was called into the chief executive's office the next day where she was told, "I don't think you're going to fit in here."

The woman believes she was fired due to her age and her disclosure of breast cancer. An attorney representing her in the lawsuit says: "[the agency] didn't want Peggy because she had an expensive medical procedure."

A spokeswoman for the agency pointed to staff demographics as evidence that it does not discriminate. There are reportedly four breast cancer survivors and three employees with visible disabilities. To refute the claims of age discrimination, she noted that 11 staff members and six executives are age 60 or older.

Age discrimination and disability discrimination are both illegal and immoral. Sadly, these types of discrimination can be subtle and difficult to prove, yet their consequences are very real. A qualified employment law attorney can sort out the details of a potential case and help discrimination victims understand their rights and options.

Source: Sun-Sentinel, "Senior worker sues senior agency," Marcia Heroux Pounds, Oct. 27, 2011

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