Insurance company employees sue for age discrimination

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 12, 2010, 11:41am

SHERMAN-Two former insurance company employees have filed a federal lawsuit alleging they are victims of age discrimination.

Parker Perret filed suit against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. on Sept. 2 in Collin County District Court. Melvin Pierre Sr. filed a similar suit on the same day. Both lawsuits were transferred to the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division on Oct. 1.

Perret was hired by Nationwide in 2005 as a financial sales consultant and resigned in June. Pierre was hired in June 2006 and turned in his resignation on July 8. The former employees were the oldest sales managers that reported to an associate vice president for the Central Plains Region.

They accuse their supervisor of targeting them for termination not because of poor performance, but because of their age. The two employees were placed on a 60-day coaching plan in October 2009 but the plan was arbitrarily extended until March.

Perret filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March regarding the alleged age discrimination.

According to the lawsuits, at the same time as the EEOC complaints, the defendant was conducting an internal ethics investigation regarding discriminatory conduct in the Central Plains Region. The day after Perret complied with the investigation and detailed his age discrimination, he was placed on a performance improvement plan.

Perret states this plan was in retaliation for his compliance with the internal investigation.

Perrie claims he underwent similar age discrimination and was also a victim of racial discrimination. Perrie states the defendant's conduct forced him to seek a leave and instead of being fired, he turned in his resignation in July.

Nationwide Mutual is accused of age and race discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.

Perret and Pierre are seeking damages for lost wages and benefits, front pay, compensatory damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, punitive damages, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

The men are represented by Matthew R. Pearson, Marc E. Gravely and Shannon E. Loyd of Gravely & Pearson in San Antonio and Douglas D. Ketterman of Ketterman Rowland & Westlund in San Antonio.

Case Nos. 4:10-cv-00522-MHS; 4:10-cv-00523-RAS

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