EL CENTRO, Calif. – A federal court last week dismissed an age discrimination suit against Sun Community FCU and its top executives, ruling a former securities rep. did not prove he was terminated because of his age, in violation of the Age Discrimination and Employment Act.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Southern California ruled that Garry Stoklas, who was 62 when he was terminated in February 2011, failed to prove that he was replaced when he was fired. And that his firing was related to his age.
The discrimination suit is the second won by the credit union in recent months with the same federal court rejecting claims of racial discrimination brought by an African-American former vice president of lending, Orlando Johnson. In dismissing that suit, the judge said the former credit union executive may have provided proof of personal animus on the part of his superior, but not enough proof that the animus was because of his race.
In the Stoklas case, he alleged, among other things, that at a manager's meeting, nine months before his discharge, the comment was made that Stoklas would not be continuing on with the celebratory activities with the "younger folks;" and in management meetings he and a 75 year-old co-worker were referred to as the "old ones." Stoklas alleged that he had "always been an excellent employee with no performance issue" and therefore concludes "it could only be his age that was motivating (his) termination."
Stoklas was hired by the credit union in 1997 a part-time courier and part-time accountant. In 2001 he was promoted to be a registered representative for financial services. After he was terminated the credit union offered him a job as an independent contractor with CU Financial Network.
The court ruled the allegations “fail to raise the right to relief above the speculative level.” “Factual allegations that Plaintiff was 60 years old and exposed to some modest, but not inflammatory, statements related to age, do not satisfy Plaintiff's pleading burden under the ADEA,” ruled the court.