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Monday, January 5, 2015

49ers, CEO Caught in Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 1:56 PM

click to enlarge 49ers CEO Jed York at Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2013, a technology meet-up. - FLICKR / FORTUNE LIVE MEDIA
  • Flickr / Fortune Live Media
  • 49ers CEO Jed York at Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2013, a technology meet-up.
Two former managers of the 49ers slammed CEO Jed York and the team with an age discrimination lawsuit on Friday, years after York fired the veteran employees in an alleged effort to brand his team as the technology startup of the NFL.

Anthony Lozano and Keith Yanagi, both who were in their late 50's when they were fired, submitted a federal complaint against York for letting go "a lot" of senior managers in 2011 and 2012 to make room for younger employees from Silicon Valley, the complaint alleges.

When asked why the team wanted to hire young tech workers, the complaint says York replied, "'Because they made a lot of money, they did a lot of cool things before they turned 40 years old, and they didn't want to play golf six days a week.'"

Lozano and Yanagi had worked with the team for more than 20 years each, with Lozano being awarded employee of the month in 2010 (a year before he was dismissed) and both managers fitted with with stellar performance reviews throughout their 20-plus years of service, according to the complaint.

The 49ers told Lozano he was fired from his position as Facilities Manager because the team was "going in a different direction," and former Director of Video Operations Yanagi was told he was let go for undisclosed "performance" reasons, according to the complaint.

The two allege that the 49ers violated several federal regulations regarding firing workers over the age of 40 when they were let go, including the termination of a group of older employees without proper notification and the gathering of statistical data. That data, they say, would demonstrate "a pattern and practice of age discrimination" by the 49ers.

"Per company policy, we never comment on pending litigation," said 49ers Director of Communications Bob Lange. "I am sorry that I don’t have anything further."

Lozano and Yanagi seek punitive damages for age discrimination, wrongful firing, fraud and concealment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Attorney David Poore, who represents the plaintiffs, was not immediately available for comment.

On a sidenote, 49ers former Coach Jim Harbaugh split up with the San Francisco team last month in what the two describe as a mutual decision to part ways. Harbaugh is 51 years old.


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