A federal judge ruled three employees' discrimination suit can proceed.
SPRINGFIELD – A federal judge ruled three employees' age and disability claims against Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) can proceed to trial.
In his July 27 ruling, U.S. District Judge Douglas Harpool of the Western District of Missouri found some of the discrimination claims of former AWG employees David Gilberg, Douglas Stokes and Teresa Leonard credible enough to continue through the court.
The employees claim they were wrongfully terminated, because of their age. Leonard also claimed gender discrimination and Stokes claimed disability discrimination and retaliation.
AWG argued the former employees were fired over the company's IT and anti-harassment policies.
Harpool threw out the gender discrimination and retaliation claims, but allowed the plaintiffs to advance on the age and disability discrimination claims made.
The court also dismissed claims against another defendant, Todd Cooper, because there was insufficient evidence that Cooper played a role in Leonard’s termination, as she alleged.
AWG argued the former employees were fired over the company's IT and anti-harassment policies. AWG alleged Leonard was terminated for printing an email containing a racial slur and showed it to two co-workers.
Gilberg was terminated, AWG claims, because he forwarded an email containing photographs of nude women to three fellow AWG employees.
AWG allged Stokes was fired after receiving emails with sexual content and sending out suggestive emails to co-workers.
Gilberg’s and Stokes’ emails were discovered as part of the investigation that followed Leonard’s termination, according to court documents.
The former employees maintained younger co-workers sent similar emails, but only received a reprimand.