A manager of a Costco meat department in Texas has sued the company, claiming that he was fired because of his age.
The lawsuit was filed by Lawrence G. Wojcik on June 18 in United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, naming Costco Wholesale Corp. as defendant.
According to the lawsuit, Wojcik started working as a meat cutter for Costco in September 1988 and was later promoted to manager of the meat department.
Wojcik alleges that on February 9, 2012, he informed his employer that he would be taking 60 days medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), because of heart issues. Wojcik actually returned to work within 30 days but was immediately placed on suspension. According to the lawsuit, Wojcik’s employment was terminated on March 13, 2012, at which time he was 60 years of age and had worked for the company for 24 years.
Wojcik alleges that Costco was trying to create a younger workforce and push out older workers. The lawsuit accuses Costco of violating the FMLA, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.
In the complaint, Wojcik alleges that he helped Costco open several new store locations in different states and that Costco considered him the top meat manager in Texas. According to the lawsuit, Wojcik’s performance was labeled “outstanding” on his final three performance reviews in 2009-2011. The complaint quotes a Costco manager’s assessment of Wojcik as saying he “does an excellent job” and “exceeds expectations in many areas.”
The lawsuit alleges that Wojcik was brought in to help open and manage the meat department at a new Costco location in Frisco, Texas, which was overseen by a manager in her late 30s. According to the complaint, this manager rejected an approximately-50-year-old qualified applicant for a meat cutter position, stating, “I have enough old people already – only so many ‘door positions’ available for you old people,” referring to workers who greet customers entering the store.
The complaint further alleges that the manager in question made frequent remarks to the effect that Costco had too many older workers, and made an unsolicited comment to Wojcik indicating that he was perhaps too old to perform his job properly.
The lawsuit demands a jury trial and seeks damages for lost wages and benefits, emotional pain and suffering, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs of suit.