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Nestle Fined, Must Tell Employees About Age-Discrimination Suit

California

May 26, 2000|CAITLIN LIU | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has ordered Nestle USA to pay $5.16 million to a former Glendale manager who filed an age-discrimination suit against the company.

In what experts are calling an extraordinary decision, Judge Robert O'Brien on Thursday also ordered the company to tell all of its 19,000 U.S. employees of the ruling, and to tell them it is repudiating a 1993 memo written by an executive that outlines a plan to hire and promote "young people."

The plaintiff, Richard Herr, 53, was a financial manager at Nestle USA's Glendale headquarters from 1989 to 1995. He was repeatedly passed over for promotions, he alleged, while employees in their early 30s were being promoted. He eventually left the company out of frustration, according to his attorney, Ken Rivin.

During the jury trial, statistical evidence of age discrimination at the company was presented, as well as a memo from company Chairman Helmut Maucher that said "continue identifying and developing young people . . . for future management."

In a written statement, company spokeswoman Rochelle Brown said, "We are disappointed in the jury verdict. We are considering all of our options up to and including an appeal."

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Times staff writer Johnathon E. Briggs contributed to this report.

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