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Out with the old? Bay Area man sues Palo Alto tech firm claiming he was fired over his age, disability
San Jose Mercury News - 1/24/2020
Jan. 24--For more than two decades, John Doherty worked for Fuji Xerox in Palo Alto, racking up raises, promotions and bonuses as he helped invent new technologies and usher the company into the 21st Century, he claims in a lawsuit.
Last April, he received another raise, and an $11,000 performance bonus -- a month before he was fired, his wrongful-termination and discrimination suit claimed.
The 61-year-old former senior media specialist at the company's FX Palo Alto Laboratory, which develops business-communications products and services, alleged in the suit that Fuji Xerox sacked him because of his age and disability, and for taking medical leave. Doherty's suit further claimed the firm fired other workers for similar reasons.
Fuji Xerox did not respond to a request for comment.
Doherty's medical issues arose in November 2015, with complications from hernia surgery, the suit said. On long-term disability leave for three months, he returned to work in early 2016, according to the suit. He was then diagnosed with chronic pain, but continued to do his job well, "up to and including his final day of employment," the suit claimed.
Late in 2018, the company announced it was raising employees' health insurance rates because the firm's healthcare costs were rising, the suit alleged. Doherty claimed in the suit that three weeks before he was fired in May 2019 with no warning, he'd told the company his wife and daughter had significant new health issues. The company abruptly shut off his access to email and the firm's computer network, and had him escorted out of the building, the suit alleged.
Fuji Xerox, the suit alleged, believed Doherty was "unnecessary and redundant because of his age, disability, (and) association with other disabled family members and their medical costs."
The other senior media specialist in the office, 46, was not laid off, the suit claimed. Doherty was one of the first two workers cut during a round of layoffs, the suit claimed. The other was a senior research scientist, now 62, with "severe medical issues," according to the suit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. About three-quarters of those laid off were 58 or older, the suit alleged. Another older worker was fired about a year earlier, shortly after starting treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the suit claimed.
Doherty is seeking unspecified damages.
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