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Veteran nonprofit executive sues Tampa YMCA for age discrimination

in Local Courts/Top Headlines by
Kathryn Short Rabon

A veteran nonprofit executive is suing the Tampa YMCA for age discrimination, saying they have a history of forcing out older individuals to maintain a “younger workforce.”

Kathryn Short Rabon, 59, serves as executive director of Suncoast Hospice Foundation, the fundraising arm of Suncoast Hospice.

According to a news release, Rabon has a long resume working for several prominent nonprofits, including as CEO of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce; vice president of development and communications at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA; chief development officer at the Girls Scouts of West Central Florida; The clearwater beach resident was also executive director of the Ruth Eckerd Hall Foundation and deputy director of development at the Salvador Dali Museum.

By 2013, Rabon had been working at the Tampa YMCA for just over 5 years – since May 2013 – when she received a “90-day-probationary period with a coach for guidance.”

Although neither the guidance coach nor the YMCA raised any issues during her probation, Rabon was fired May 2013, just before the end of the 90 days. She was replaced by a younger person.

In a lawsuit filed December 20 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Rabon accuses the YMCA of a long history of age discrimination, claiming the only reason she was fired was the organization wanted a “younger workforce,” and forcing older individuals out of those positions.

Rabon is accusing YMCA on four counts: Age Discrimination in Employment Act violation, ADEA retaliation; Florida Civil Rights Act violation and FCRA retaliation.

“Younger employees were also given time to pursue other jobs prior to termination,” the suit says. Rabon argues her termination was effective immediately.

Rabon seems to have had several other roles since leaving the YMCA. Included in her LinkedIn bio is a six-month stint at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (May-October 2013).

A news release said Rabon was named chief development officer for Ruth Eckerd Hall beginning September 30, 2013, and joined Suncoast Hospice Foundation as of June 2014, just eight months later.

Rebounds lawsuit does not mention the name of who replaced her at the YMCA.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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