Court dismisses 30-year A T & T employee's claim of age discrimination
Roman Kuzio was a union worker for A T & T, employed in the clerical department that published the Southeast Michigan Yellow Pages. In May of 2007, he and another S-2 level clerical worker--also in his 50s-- were "surplussed" by the company, while dozens of younger S-2s were allegedly retained, despite lower seniority. The trial court ruled that it would be for the jury to decide whether the two fifty-year olds were victims of age discrimination and whether the proffered explanation for their discharge was merely a pretext.On appeal, however, the court reversed the lower court holding and dismissed Kuzlo's lawsuit. The appellate judges seized on ambiguity in the union contract defining how broadly seniority rights would be protected, and held that the contract language protected A T & T from an age discrimination claim. In essence, the judges held that the company could surplus S 2s from one work area without consideration of the relative age or seniority of [younger] S 2s from other work sites.