A Tennessee employee has sued Volkswagen claiming that the German automaker discriminates against employees 53 years and older.
The lawsuit claims that, in the wake of the dieselgate emissions scandal, Volkswagen is trying to rebrand itself as a younger company. As a result, it is reportedly trying to “purge older workers from its management ranks by implementing illegal age discrimination policies.”
Jonathan Manlove, the individual behind the suit, claims that he was demoted from being an assistant manager in logistics at the firm’s Tennessee plant as part of an effort by VW to shed its “old diesel image.”
In June 2017, Volkswagen said that its management levels would indeed become younger.
“We are expecting our management levels to become younger and slimmer. We are becoming slimmer, leaner and younger. This will make Volkswagen faster and more efficient at the same time as providing new motivation for junior managers,” the carmaker said.
The lawsuit asserts that Volkswagen intends on shedding 7,000 jobs in North and South America currently held by workers born between 1955 and 1960 through an early retirement scheme.
After receiving his demotion, Manlove says that he has been unable to find another position in the company.
“The clock is ticking for Jonathan, and his efforts to undo his discriminatory demotion have not been successful,” said Leigh Anne St. Charles, an associate from Sanford Heisler Sharp, the law firm representing Manlove, said.
“No monetary compensation is at stake for him or members of the class. He is a talented American auto worker who simply wants to continue performing the work at VW he is most capable of doing at a salary commensurate with his considerable training, skills, and experience. He and others facing age discrimination at the company have many years of work productivity remaining. Demoting them and eliminating their positions to embellish VW’s tarnished reputation is simply wrong.”