Age Discrimination

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For the decision: Mitsubishi Electronics faces Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Age discrimination at Mitsubishi Electronics America, California

At a president's meeting, Mr. Ihara, a senior managing director at Mitsubishi Electronics, talked "about getting rid of managers who were over 40 and replacing them with younger, more aggressive managers." Mr. Kawasaki, president of Mitsubishi Electronics agreed with him and it was repeated an American Vice President to his managers in a meeting.

Mr. George O'Mary, when laid off, wanted this statement to be admissible in the court to show evidence of age discrimination. The California Court of Appeals held that even though the statement was hearsay it was admissable since Ihara was authorized to speak for Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Electronics America's parent company.

Mitsubishi Electronics argued that there was no evidence that the American VP was authorized to report on what others said at the president's meeting. The Court said, "The argument, however, distorts the normal presumptions in any corporate managerial hierarchy. It is certainly within the province of a company vice president to 'carry the word' of company direction to his or her subordinates when the vice president receives that word from the very highest levels of the firm. The normal presumption is that the managers and executives who hear an announcement of company policy are to carry that policy to their 'troops,' who will be expected to 'get with the program.'"

In its holding requiring a new trial for the employee, the Court noted, "There is, of course, no doubt that if Mitsubishi Electronic's policy really was to "get rid of managers over 40" and replace them "with younger, more aggressive managers" the policy represented a serious violation of state and federal age discrimination laws."

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