A federal court jury in Texas awarded $992,500 to a former airport restaurant manager who said he was fired because of his age. The jurors unanimously found that Host International Inc. discriminated against Fred Jackson, who was 57 when the company fired him in 2007. Jackson was older than any of Host International’s other management employees in El Paso. Host International holds the city contract to provide food and beverage services at El Paso International Airport. The jury found for Jackson on his claims of discrimination and retaliation.
Jackson began working as general manager of food and beverage services in 1990, when Delaware North held the airport contract. Host International received the contract in January 2007, hired Jackson as general manager, but then fired him nine weeks later. Jackson alleged that his problems began immediately with Host International, which cut his pay. He said that the Host International district manager told him that his $70,000-a-year salary was good “for a person your age.”
In February 2007, Jackson said the desk manager told him that the disparity in salaries was intended to attract “younger, talented people.” Host International said it fired Jackson not because of his age but because he performed poorly. But the quality of Jackson’s work was never criticized in writing by the company. His last performance review actually commended him.
Source: El Paso Times
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