Case: Jane Doe I and Jane Doe II v. Roe Restaurant Chain (Case No. 37-2008-00096036-CU-WT-CTL)
Court: Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego
Judge: John S. Meyer
Date: October 22, 2009
Result: Settlement of $266,000 – this settlement was over the policy limits. The settlement was only reached once plaintiff’s counsel verified that the franchisee was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Facts & Allegations
In 2008, the plaintiffs — one 69-year-old waitress and one 70-year-old waitress — were long time workers for a national diner chain. Both females, one plaintiff had worked for the chain for more than 38 years, while the other had worked there for more than 10 years. When the corporation sold the restaurant chain to the franchisee, both plaintiffs were terminated.
They sued the restaurant for wrongful termination, age harassment and discrimination and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The plaintiffs claimed that they had terrific reviews when the diner was corporately owned, but when a franchisee purchased it, they began to be harassed throughout 2007. They claimed that their work schedules were systematically cut because of their age and that the franchise owner was overheard saying “get rid of the two old ones.” They also asserted that the general manager who heard this refused and so the franchise owner brought in another general manager to run the diner.
The plaintiffs asserted that the new general manager was overheard saying things like: “[plaintiffs] are too old to work here,” “[plaintiffs] are too old and slow to take care of their station,” “we need to force [the plaintiffs] out,” “let’s put [plaintiffs] in a busier section, so that more customers complain” and “we need to hire somebody that is not so old — we need fresh people.”
The defendants denied the allegations, and claimed that the plaintiffs were not performing satisfactorily.