Radiology Technician Alleges Age, Not Ineptitude, Led to Termination
A 68-year-old radiology technician has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Shelby Medical Holdings after the Center, Texas-based entity allegedly dismissed her for an inability to use its equipment. Jessie Garrett alleges that Shelby Medical Holdings—which conducts business as Shelby Regional Medical Center Hospital—said she was “too slow”, “forgetful”, and “not comprehending well” when it terminated her this past March. In the lawsuit, she claims her age was the determining factor in the medical center's decision to terminate her and accuses the defendant of accused of knowingly and willfully discriminating against her on the basis of her age in violation of the Age in Discrimination in Employment Act. Garrett worked on and off for Shelby Medical Holdings for more than 40 years, with the most recent position as a radiology technician beginning in 1989. She is seeking damages for back pay, reinstatement, front pay, liquidated damages, attorney's fees, and costs. Radiology practices can—and should—take steps to avoid being served with a lawsuit for age discrimination, according to Robert R. Berluti, a partner in the Boston, Massachusetts based law firm of Berluti McLaughlin & Kuchin LLP. In an article on his firm’s Web site, Berluti suggests several best practices “high-tech” organizations can implement to avoid liability for age discrimination. One such practice, he says, entails quashing employees’ ability to argue that the reasons cited for termination are only a pretext for age discrimination. To do so, he suggests, avoid automatically assigning less demanding work to older workers and claiming that they are not as productive as they should be, because it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “In many instances, 50-year-olds have, in fact, performed advanced tasks through the years, making them at least as proficient as workers 20 years younger,” Berluti writes. “In this light jurors may well view the outdated skills rationale as shallow.” Berluti also advocates ensuring that all employees, rather than just younger ones, are trained on new technology if it pertains to their job responsibilities. Otherwise, should an older worker be denied training and subsequently be dismissed, the age discrimination allegation may hold. For additional tips from Berluti, read the article here: