The former CEO of New York City Health+Hospitals sounded an alarm a couple years back. He stressed that the massive care provider was being challenged by a material shortfall in its funding and resources that required a significant response.
Stanley Brezenoff stressed that H+H was in fact “facing a fiscal cliff” that mandated a material restructuring. The entity’s 4,000-strong managerial pool was slashed by a sizable 10% owing to that alleged crisis. Approximately 400 managers were terminated from their positions.
Something unusual was noted in the wake of that 2017 job-cutting move. More than 86% of the employees who lost their jobs were over 40 years of age.
That jarring disconnect was not lost on many of those affected workers. It certainly resonated with 67-year-old manager Jeffrey Wallach, who was terminated from his position while nearing 40 years on the job. Wallach studied the list of people who were let go and crunched some numbers.
I “got to wonder if this is not age discrimination,” he recently told one media outlet.
Experienced New York employment law attorneys now acting on behalf of Wallach and other so-called “similarly situated” employees think it might well be. They make strong arguments in a recently filed lawsuit that the restructuring was indeed irregular and perhaps illegal under the city’s Human Rights Law.
Founding Fisher Taubenfeld partner Michael Taubenfeld is a principal advocate on the legal team representing Wallach and other displaced workers. The defense notes that relevant city law does not require the plaintiffs to prove discriminatory intent. Rather, they need only establish that the downsides of restructuring were disproportionately felt by a select demographic.
The above statistic underscoring the disparity surrounding the termination of older workers seemingly speaks for itself.
The defense team will obviously marshal additional evidence to support its claims. The case is likely to receive substantial media coverage.
We will be sure to keep readers current on any material developments that arise in the litigation.