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Man Who Lost Age-Bias Suit Files High Court Appeal

September 05, 1997|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ORANGE — The state Supreme Court has been asked to overturn a controversial lower court decision limiting age discrimination claims by older workers who lose their jobs.

The appeal was filed by attorneys for Newport Beach aerospace accountant Michael J. Marks, who had lost an age-discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, Loral Corp.

A lower appellate panel in Santa Ana rejected Marks' suit, ruling that employers are not subject to age-discrimination claims if they fire older workers because the company is cutting costs and the over-40 employees make the most money.

In his petition for a review by the state high court, Marks' attorney, James J. Guziak, argued that the appeals decision "would severely restrict the ability of employees to bring age discrimination claims in cases of reductions-in-force or reorganizations."

Marks, now 54, sued Loral in 1993 after he was laid off in a corporate reorganization. He said he was discriminated against because he was denied the opportunity to transfer within the giant aerospace company while all the workers in his department who were under 40 were granted transfers. Marks was 49 and a 23-year veteran at the time.

Loral officials later testified that he was laid off in a cost-cutting move because he made more money and had more benefits than the younger workers.

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