1.20.2015

San Francisco 49ers Sued for Age Discrimination

San Francisco 49ers Sued for Age Discrimination
by Chris Helsel
Two former employees of the San Francisco 49ers (49ers, Club, Team) have brought suit in the Northern District of California against the club and its CEO, Jed York, alleging age discrimination. The plaintiffs, Anthony Lozano and Keith Yanugi, claim that they were two of many senior managers let go in 2011 and 2012 as Mr. York attempted to brand his Club as the technology startup of the NFL.
The complaint alleges that when asked why the Team wanted to bring in young tech workers from Silicon Valley, Mr. York replied "Because they made a lot of money, they did a lot of cool things before they turned 40 years old, and they didn't want to play golf six days a week." The two plaintiffs both worked for the Club for over 20 years and achieved stellar performance reviews throughout their careers, according to the complaint. Further, Mr. Lozano claims that he was awarded employee of the month in 2010, one year prior to his dismissal.
Mr. Lozano, who served as the Club's Facilities Manager, was told he was let go because the Team was "going in a different direction." Mr. Yanagi, who served as Director of Video Operations, was allegedly fired for undisclosed "performance" reasons.
The plaintiffs allege that the Club violated several federal regulations regarding firing workers over age 40, including the termination of a group of older employees without proper notification and the gathering of statistical data that, they say, would demonstrate "a pattern and practice of age discrimination." Mr. Lozano and Mr. Yanugi seek punitive damages for age discrimination, wrongful termination, fraud and concealment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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