Jury Returns Verdict for Employee in AT&T Age Discrimination Case, Judge Awards $2.3M

By order issued last Thursday, Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rice awarded back pay, liquidated damages, and front pay after a jury found that AT&T Mobility Services LLP fired a plaintiff based on her age. In the woman’s Eastern District of Pennsylvania complaint, she asserted that she was fired from her position as Director of Sales in 2018, after 23 years of service with AT&T, as part of a company-wide plan to reduce what it perceived to be an aging workforce.

The jury found that the ex-employee’s age was a determinative factor in AT&T’s decision to fire her at 49 and that the company either knew or showed reckless disregard for whether the termination was prohibited by law. 

Prior to the trial, the parties agreed that the judge would determine damages. The court considered post-verdict arguments submitted by letter briefs as to the final figure. 

Judge Rice first declined contentions advanced by AT&T that the plaintiff failed to mitigate damages. In this regard, the court pointed to evidence demonstrating that the worker engaged in an extensive job search after she was fired. 

The court decided on a figure of $496,818 in back pay, representing her lost earnings through the date of the verdict including annual pension contribution and less $68,991 in severance. Judge Rice awarded an equal amount of liquidated damages, applicable to cases where as here, the jury found the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) violation willful.

The court also computed future damages after concluding that reinstatement was impossible. Judge Rice agreed with the plaintiff’s calculation figure of approximately $1.26 million based on her current age of 53 years, and a retirement age of 65 years. The court then directed the clerk to enter the nearly $2.3 million judgment.

The plaintiff is represented by Console Mattiacci Law LLC and AT&T by Paul Hastings LLP.