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Court Turns Down Age Discrimination Claim, Cites Performance

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Getting older can be tough, especially when you lose a job based on your age.

That's what Ramona DeBra said happened at JPMorgan, where she was a teller. As she neared 60, the Michigan branch let her go.

Unfortunately in DeBra v. JPMorgan Chase & Company, it got worse for her. According to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, her age wasn't the reason she was fired.

Low Overall Rating

DeBra started working for the bank in 1996. She performed well enough until 2012, when she received a low overall rating from her manager.

Notes showed she made "numerous cash handling and cash control errors," including depositing funds in the wrong person's account, leaving $100 cash in a drawer, and creating a $700 shortfall in one transaction.

Problems continued into 2013 and 2014, leading to her termination on April 14, 2014. She was 59 at the time.

She filed a complaint under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, saying that younger employees made similar mistakes without disciplinary consequences. The court dismissed her case because she didn't show she was treated less favorably than others in her situation.

Record of Performance Issues

On appeal, she did not show her termination was a pretext for age discrimination. She failed to show her manager had any animus against older workers, the Six Circuit said.

The bank had a record of performance issues, the appeals court observed, and DeBra did not have enough evidence to rebut the record.

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