PPG Employees Amend Complaint in Age Discrimination Suit
The former PPG Industries employees who filed a class and collective
action suit against the company in May 2007 filed an amended complaint
on August 7, 2007. The group, which includes former PPG employees
Arthur C. Rupert, Linda K. Austin, Larry L. Campbell, Kenneth J.
Hunt and Wade C. Bittner, originally filed the suit on May 24, 2007,
via their counsel, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. They
allege that PPG's practices "discriminate against its older work
force in conducting Reductions-in-Force ('RIFs') and forced retirements
over an extended period of time."
More specifically, the employees claim that PPG conducts "standardless
performance evaluations, which allowed PPG to manipulate and distort
its older workers' records of performance in order to create a pretext
for terminating older workers."
Likewise, the group alleges that the company "secretively adopt[s]
and employ[s] methods for evaluating, ranking and selecting employees
for terminations in its regular RIFs, which … result[s] in the termination
of disproportionately high numbers of older workers." The complaint
also alleges that PPG fails "to exercise appropriate supervision
or control over managers who select older workers for termination"
and that the company's "corporate culture … fosters and encourages
pervasive ageist stereotypes …"
Finally, the plaintiffs also allege that older workers at PPG have
been compelled to accept retirement packages "identical to what
was available to workers who were simply terminated" and that the
company has "fail[ed] and refus[ed] to reinstate, retrain and/or
re-locate older emplyees into positions that matched their job qualifications
which became available after their termination … in violation of
PPG's written polices governing employees terminated in RIFs."
The group of plaintiffs, led by attorney Bruce Fox, alleges that
the above practices and others named in the complaint are in violation
of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
According to court documents, the group is filing a class action
suit under the terms of ADEA, which it says makes it unlawful for
an employer to discharge an employee "for the purpose of interfering
with the attainment of any right to which such participant may become
entitled under the provisions of an employee benefit plan." The
class includes the named plaintiffs and "all former salaried employees
of PPG whose employment with PPG within the United States was terminated
by PPG or who were pressured by PPG to resign or retire and who
were at least 40 years of age at the time of such termination, resignation
The collective action (which is a legal term applied specifically
to suits that allege violations of both ADEA and the Fair Standards
and Labor Act and requires participants in the suit to "opt in")
makes similar allegations to those previously noted that appear
in the class action suit.
The complaint says the practices noted therein began "in or about
1997, when Raymond LeBoeuf became PPG's chief executive officer
and chairman of the board." (LeBoeuf retired in 2005, and Charles
Bunch now serves as president, chairman and chief executive officer
for the Pittsburgh-based company.)
In the collective action suit, the group is seeking "reasonable
monetary damages, including back pay … front pay, benefits and all
other damages … in an amount proven at the trial," along with a
number of other judgments.
The class seeks several judgments, including a mandate that PPG
officers discontinue the practices alleged in the complaint, along
with "further legal and equitable relief as may be found appropriate."
At press time, the due date for PPG's response to the suit had
been extended through September 10.
Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com for updates as they become available.
HERE to read the full text of the amended complaint.
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