A sadly common practice by many employers in our country is to fire people 40 and older who are replaced with younger workers who are often receiving less salary, reduced benefits, and different pensions structures. This policy is known as “blocking” because older workers are perceived as blocking the progress of younger lower salaried workers. It is also a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Hershey is currently in litigation in United States District Court over this policy, brought by three former high level executives Gregory P. Barnes, David C. Bolle, and Mary Wasson, all over 40, all of whom were long-term excellent employees making excellent salaries, and were terminated involuntarily. (Barnes vs. The Hershey Company (CV-01334-CRB (NC))The Plaintiffs are represented by the Brandi Law Firm and Dave Feola of Hoban and Feola of Colorado.
Recently a collective action was conditionally certified in the Barnes case under the ADEA for Hershey CSEs and CDMs 40 years and older who were involuntarily severed after January 1, 2009.
But the Barnes case is not the first time high level Hershey workers have been forced to go to Court to hold Hershey accountable for its blocking policy.
According to a 2006 Denver Post article, former Hershey workers led by John Montagne, a Denver based regional manager for Hershey, and represented by Dave Feola, sued in Hershey in 2004 claiming violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
According to the Denver Post article, Montagne testified in a deposition that “I worked for Hershey for 26 years, and I trusted that they were true to their word and honorable, and, in this case, they weren’t,” Eventually the case was resolved.
Click here to read the full article: Hershey’s Big Kiss-Off to Older Employees
In San Francisco federal court the Barnes case is moving forward to trial where the former Hershey executives, all 40 or older at involuntary discharge after January 1, 2009, seek to hold Hershey accountable for violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.