Maine’s high court has given a number of former full-time Shaw’s employees a victory as they pursue an age discrimination lawsuit against the grocery store chain.
Attorney Jeffrey Neil Young, who’s representing the former workers, says that, just over 5 years ago, Shaw’s terminated more than 700 employees in its New England stores, including around 70 full time employees in Maine. Young says that the lawsuit alleges, and the Maine Human Rights Commission agreed, that the decision to exclude part-time employees from the reduction in force had a disparate impact on older employees in violation of the Maine Human Rights Act.
The Maine High Court rejected Shaw’s argument that an age discrimination provision found in federal law should be considered. Young says his clients can argue that there were other ways Shaws could have saved the same amount amount of money without letting go of all the older employees.
“For example you could offered the older employees the opportunity to take a pay cut, to work fewer hours, so forth,” Young says.
The case now goes back to Federal Court. Young says he anticipates filing a motion soon seeking class certification.