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Former Mattel employee alleges age discrimination

A man who is now 71 years old has accused his former employer, Mattel, of age discrimination. He also alleges several other claims, including wrongful termination, defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case is pending before a judge in the Los Angeles area.

The man was employed by Mattel for a very long time, since the late 1960s. He eventually got promoted in to a supervisory position.

According to the man's allegations, for most of the time that he worked for the toy and game manufacturer, there were no problems with the company weeding out older employees to make room for younger hires. However, the man said that, beginning in the spring of 2018, the company began laying people off in what seemed like an effort to target older employees.

The man said that, during that time, the company indicated that he had been accused of sexual harassment. The allegations, which he denies, were that he unnecessarily was calling female co-workers in to his office. The man said that the company's management later backed off the allegation of sexual harassment and instead said that the man had simply made his female colleagues feel uncomfortable.

A couple of months later, the man was told that the investigation had come out unfavorable to him and that he would be fired. However, Mattel did not actually get around to terminating him until the following month.

It is of course acceptable, and expected, that employers in California crack down on sexually inappropriate behavior among employees. No matter how old the employee is or how long they have served, termination could be appropriate. However, employers may not use unfounded accusations of any misconduct, including sexual harassment, as a pretext for unlawful discrimination.

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