TAMPA – The Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida has denied a motion for reconsideration in an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee against a Florida company.
In her ruling, Judge Susan Bucklew turned away an attempt by at least 21 former workers of engineering firm RS&H Inc. seeking class-action status.
On Jan. 6, Bradley Jones, acting on his own behalf and others in a similar situation, filed suit alleging violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and The Florida Civil Rights Act.
In his complaint, Jones stated that he was told his 2015 termination was part of a reduction in force and that he was one of 23 employees nationwide to be terminated, including seven employees at the Tampa location.
Jones alleges that all seven of the employees terminated at the Tampa location were more than 50 years old. Jones was 53 years old at the time of his termination, the suit states.
Jones further alleges RS&H hired young employees and then terminated the older employees once the younger hires were trained.
Jones and a group of former workers then filed suit seeking class certification. A lower court ruled that Jones failed to satisfy his burden of showing that all of the fired employees were in a similar situation as Jones at the time of the dismissals. The court did find that Jones and five of the seven workers at the Tampa facility were similarly situated. Jones then filed a motion before the court for reconsideration.
Bucklew sided with the lower court and agreed the nationwide plaintiff class of 21 was too diverse because the others were in different states with different decision makers.
“Even accepting this new evidence, the court remains convinced that its ultimate conclusion—that conditional certification is only warranted for a class consisting of the five Tampa employees terminated during the June 2015 RIF that were over 40 years old—is correct,“ wrote Bucklew in her ruling. “Plaintiff has not shown that the court’s alternative basis for its conclusion—that plaintiff has not shown that there are other employees that were employed outside of Tampa who desire to opt-in and that those employees are similarly situated to plaintiff—is wrong.”
Bucklew denied the motion for reconsideration and the matter moves back to the lower court.