Posted December 6th, 2018.
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December 6, 2018, Chattanooga, TN –Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP filed a motion today asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Volkswagen from further implementation of a company-wide policy of age discrimination against employees 50 years and older, dubbed the “Pact for the Future.”
The request follows from a complaint filed earlier this year on behalf of Jon Manlove, a 53-year-old employee of Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On June 29, 2018, Mr. Manlove filed a class action lawsuit against German parent-company Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft and two of its wholly owned United States subsidiaries in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee alleging that the company adopted a policy of discrimination targeting workers age 50 and older.
The team from Sanford Heisler Sharp representing Manlove and the class includes Kevin Sharp, managing partner of the firm’s Nashville office and Nashville associates Leigh Anne St. Charles and Hannah Wolf, as well as Andrew Melzer, partner in Sanford Heisler Sharp’s New York office.
According to the motion, Volkswagen’s “Pact for the Future” is part of a global company policy designed to swap out older VW workers for much younger ones—with the goal of eliminating 30,000 jobs world-wide, 7,000 of which would be from North and South America.
According to the motion, Volkswagen has escalated its discriminatory treatment and targeted Manlove for adverse treatment, and that without court action, Volkswagen will continue to carry out its ongoing plan to target older workers and drive them out of the company.
“Any policy singling out older workers for demotion and mistreatment is discrimination, plain and simple,” said Attorney St. Charles. “We are asking the Court to grant preliminary relief to ensure workers like Mr. Manlove get a fair chance to bring their case without having to suffer ongoing discriminatory treatment while it works its way through court.”
Manlove’s attorneys claim his treatment illustrates the types of actions that Volkswagen is willing to take in executing on its Pact for the Future. Since the policy was announced, Manlove has been demoted three grades, and recently has been assigned to what is described as the most physically demanding line of work in his department. “Based on what we’ve seen, it appears Volkswagen is not just demoting Manlove down in rank, it is actively preventing him from moving back up,” said Sharp. “These kinds of tactics have profound and irreparable consequences for Jon and the countless other Volkswagen employees in the U.S. suffering from similar treatment.”
The motion for preliminary injunctive relief specifically asks the Court to enjoin Volkswagen from further implementing the Pact for the Future, and to order Volkswagen to return Manlove to his former position.