In-House Counsel

Age bias suit by fired general counsel claims CEO complained about financial drain of older workers

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The former general counsel for a W.R. Berkley Corp. subsidiary claims that the real reason the company fired him in June 2018 was because of his age.

William Schrimpf says his 58th birthday was one month away when the American Mining Insurance Group fired him, ostensibly because of language he used in an email, report Law360 and Corporate Counsel.

The real reason was age bias in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, says Schrimpf’s federal lawsuit, filed last week in the Northern District of Alabama.

In the email, Schrimpf held an employee responsible for “repeated mistakes” that cost the company “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Schrimpf’s lawsuit says.

His “communication style” in the email was consistent with that of American Mining’s CEO and was not inconsistent with policy or practice, according to the suit.

The email was “a convenient excuse for defendants to terminate Mr. Schrimpf and conceal their discriminatory motive,” the suit claims.

Schrimpf alleges that American Mining CEO Chandler Cox had complained in open meetings about the financial drain caused by older employees and the need to get the head count down.

After the termination or “managing out” of older employees, Cox and other members of the management team would comment that the expense ratio “just went down,” the lawsuit alleges.

Schrimpf says he had “stellar performance reviews” during his nine years of employment. After Schrimpf was fired, his duties were reassigned to an employee in his 30s, the suit says.

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