Schall & Barasch, a New Jersey Employment Law Firm, is proud to report that, on October 28, 2022, after a nearly two-week trial in an age discrimination case brought against Whole Foods (and its parent company Amazon), a Burlington County, New Jersey jury returned a verdict of $395,000 in favor of their client, Terri Hall.
Hall v. Whole Foods Markets
To prove age discrimination, evidence is needed that a company has two different performance standards: one for its older workers and one for its younger workers. And that was precisely what was proved in the case against Whole Foods.
When Whole Foods terminated Ms. Hall’s employment in May 2018, she was 62 years old and had worked at Whole Foods for 20 years, starting at the Marlton, New Jersey store on its opening day in 1998. By 2018, Ms. Hall had worked her way up to be the manager of the store’s Specialty Department (coffee, cheese, chocolate). And by that point in time, Ms. Hall was the oldest department manager at the store. In firing Ms. Hall, Whole Foods claimed that on several occasions, it had found out-of-date coffee and out-of-date cheese in the Specialty department, and although it had warned her about the issue, it continued to be a problem.
Trial evidence was presented that when Whole Foods found an out-of-date product in the other departments in the store—all of which were managed by much younger workers—it simply looked the other way, not disciplining these younger managers at all. This evidence of a double standard—one for the younger managers and one for the older managers like Ms. Hall—was key to the victory in this age discrimination trial.
In trying this employment law case against Whole Foods, Schall & Barasch also wanted to show the jury that the Company’s treatment of Ms. Hall was not simply an accident but instead resulted from Whole Foods’ failure to implement policies and procedures that would reduce the likelihood of discrimination.
Toward this end, evidence was presented that Whole Foods (1) did not train its store managers (including the store manager who decided to fire Ms. Hall) in the laws against discrimination; (2) did not require participation by its Human Resources Department in making decisions to terminate an employee; and (3) did not review termination decisions to see whether discrimination might have been a factor. This evidence also played an important role in the jury’s finding that, in terminating Ms. Hall, the Company had engaged in age discrimination.
How Schall & Barasch, LLC Can Help You.
If you have questions about employment law or think that you may have been the victim of age discrimination, the New Jersey employment lawyers at Schall & Barasch, LLC are here to help. We have extensive experience handling claims and can help you navigate the legal process.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (856) 242-8491!