Employee Wins $3 Million in Age Discrimination Suit

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A 58-year-old Ontario woman was awarded $3 million today in her age discrimination suit against Danaher Corp. and several of its subsidiaries. 

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about four days before finding in favor of Codie Rael, who said she was subjected to such comments as ``you are outdated,''  ``we need younger workers here,'' ``you are part of the old culture'' and ``dumb female.''

Rael said many of the disparaging remarks were made by her direct supervisor, Fernando Estavillo, and his boss, Mark Valiquette. Estavillo testified he did not discriminate against anyone because of their age. 

In addition to age discrimination, the jury found true Rael's causes of action for age harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation. The panel also found that two of the subsidiaries acted with malice, oppression or fraud against Rael, meaning a second phase of trial will be held to determine if Rael is entitled to punitive damages. 

A smiling Rael and her attorneys hugged each other in the courtroom after the verdict was read. Rael worked for the various entities from November 1978 until she said she was forced to quit in October 2014. She was a materials buyer and planner during her final two years of employment there. 

She testified she worked in various plant locations, including Glendora, San Dimas and Orange. Washington-based Danaher, known for its Craftsman line of tools, has been a growing player in medical technology. 

Rael testified that Estevillo became her supervisor in March 2014 after Danaher in 2006 acquired for $2 billion Sybron Dental Specialities Inc., where the plaintiff previously worked. She said he put extreme pressure on her to perform exactly as he demanded or else she would be fired. 

After Rael quit because of the stress of her job, she was replaced by a man in his 20s, according to her court papers.

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