Former Bellsouth employees file age discrimination lawsuit

Michelle Keahey Mar. 2, 2012, 3:37am

NEW ORLEANS - Three former Bellsouth employees have filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the company after they were not rehired, and younger, less qualified people were instead hired.

Claiming violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Curtis Marcombe, Robert Marquette and Don Bowdoin filed suit against Bellsouth Corp. and AT&T on Feb. 20 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were each employed by Bellsouth for over 30 years when they accepted retirement severance packages in 2004. Following Hurricane Katrina, the men were rehired as facility technicians but were laid off approximately a year later.

In January 2007, the former employees responded to Bellsouth advertisements for help wanted in "Outside Technical Positions."

Eventually, they inquired about their job applications with a member of local Bellsouth management and were told that the company "is hiring young guys instead of you."

The defendant is accused of refusing to hire the plaintiffs and hiring younger, less qualified individuals.

In the fall of 2006, AT&T bought Bellsouth. AT&T is accused of having a policy against re-hiring people who previously accepted a severance package from the company. Marcombe, Marquette and Bowdoin argue that this policy has a disparate impact on people over 40 years old and has resulted in AT&T's denial of employment to them.

The former employees are asking the court for an award of damages for lost wages, lost employment benefits, mental pain and anguish, physical harm, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, additional job search and relocation expenses, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, interest and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Terrytown attorney Alan F. Kansas. A jury trial is requested.

U. S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00468

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