PPG Employees Amend Complaint in Age Discrimination Suit
The former PPG Industries employees who filed a class and collective
action suit against the company in May 2007 filed an amended complaint
on August 7, 2007. The group, which includes former PPG employees
Arthur C. Rupert, Linda K. Austin, Larry L. Campbell, Kenneth J.
Hunt and Wade C. Bittner, originally filed the suit on May 24, 2007,
via their counsel, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. They
allege that PPG's practices "discriminate against its older
work force in conducting Reductions-in-Force ('RIFs') and forced
retirements over an extended period of time."
More specifically, the employees claim that PPG conducts "standardless
performance evaluations, which allowed PPG to manipulate and distort
its older workers' records of performance in order to create a pretext
for terminating older workers." Likewise, the group alleges
that the company "secretively adopt[s] and employ[s] methods
for evaluating, ranking and selecting employees for terminations
in its regular RIFs, which
result[s] in the termination of
disproportionately high numbers of older workers."
The complaint also alleges that PPG fails "to exercise appropriate
supervision or control over managers who select older workers for
termination" and that the company's "corporate culture
fosters and encourages pervasive ageist stereotypes
Finally, the plaintiffs also allege that older workers at PPG have
been compelled to accept retirement packages "identical to
what was available to workers who were simply terminated" and
that the company has "fail[ed] and refus[ed] to reinstate,
retrain and/or re-locate older emplyees into positions that matched
their job qualifications which became available after their termination
in violation of PPG's written polices governing employees
terminated in RIFs."
The group of plaintiffs, led by attorney Bruce Fox, alleges that
the above practices and others named in the complaint are in violation
of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
According to court documents, the group is filing a class action
suit under the terms of ADEA, which it says makes it unlawful for
an employer to discharge an employee "for the purpose of interfering
with the attainment of any right to which such participant may become
entitled under the provisions of an employee benefit plan."
The class includes the named plaintiffs and "all former salaried
employees of PPG whose employment with PPG within the United States
was terminated by PPG or who were pressured by PPG to resign or
retire and who were at least 40 years of age at the time of such
termination, resignation or requirement."
The collective action (which is a legal term applied specifically
to suits that allege violations of both ADEA and the Fair Standards
and Labor Act and requires participants in the suit to "opt
in") makes similar allegations to those previously noted that
appear in the class action suit.
The complaint says the practices noted therein began "in or
about 1997, when Raymond LeBoeuf became PPG's chief executive officer
and chairman of the board." (LeBoeuf retired in 2005, and Charles
Bunch now serves as president, chairman and chief executive officer
for the Pittsburgh-based company.)
In the collective action suit, the group is seeking "reasonable
monetary damages, including back pay
front pay, benefits
and all other damages
in an amount proven at the trial,"
along with a number of other judgments.
The class seeks several judgments, including a mandate that PPG
officers discontinue the practices alleged in the complaint, along
with "further legal and equitable relief as may be found appropriate."
At press time, the due date for PPG's response to the suit had
been extended through September 10.
Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com/www.usgnn.com for updates as they
HERE to read the full text of the amended complaint.
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