Man says Marriott discriminated against him based on his age

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 13, 2013

CHARLESTON - A man is suing Marriott Corporation for allegedly terminating his employment based on his age.

CHARLESTON - A man is suing Marriott Corporation for allegedly terminating his employment based on his age.

Inland American Lodging Charleston and Steven Lemmerman were also named as a defendant in the suit.

Jeffrey Messinger was hired by Marriott in 1982 as an engineering supervisor and was promoted in 1983 to Director of Engineering, according to a complaint filed July 31 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Messinger claims in 2010, Marriott and Lemmerman instituted "Rap Sessions" and stated the purpose of the Rap Sessions was to allow Lemmerman and various other senior level employees to meet with employees of various departments and evaluate the operation or the respective departments and senior managers.

The only department that was asked to participate in a Rap Session was the Engineering Department and during the Rap Session with the employees of the Engineering Department, Marriott and Lemmerman made a concerted effort to elicit information of under-performance or other deficiencies by Messinger, according to the suit.

Messinger claims the defendants' actions were motivated, in substantial part, by his age, and shortly thereafter, the defendants began making comments regarding Messinger's age and the need for him to retire.

Lemmerman routinely made comments designed to state, whether expressly or implicitly, that Messinger was unable to complete a task within a specific time frame because of his age, according to the suit.

Messinger claims in June 2012, he raised concerns with Lemmerman and other Marriott representatives that he was being treated adversely on the basis of his age and after that, he was disciplined by Lemmerman.

In November, Messinger raised concerns that he was being discriminated against based on his age and on Jan. 7, he was issued a written warning and placed on a plan of improvement by the defendants, according to the suit.

Messinger claims on Jan. 9, he raised concerns over the discriminatory treatment and harassment to Todd Thomas, the Area Director of Human Resources for Marriott and Inland Lodging and was informed during the conversation that his concerns were being investigated.

On March 4, Messinger sent a written memorandum to Thomas stating that he was being harassed, discriminated against and subjected to a hostile working environment on the basis of his age, according to the suit.

Messinger claims on April 8 he was suspended from his employment with the defendants and was terminated on April 10.

The defendants violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and caused him to suffer lost wages and benefits, according to the suit.

Messinger is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1442

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