What’s the best way to get sued for being an ageist employer? If you answered cracking a joke at someone by saying “You are so old, you must have treated dinosaurs,” you would be correct.
That’s what happened to Aileen Judith Staller, a 67-year old nurse practitioner who used to work for Moffitt Cancer Center. She doesn’t work there anymore because they fired her.
Whether or not she got canned as a result of her extensive knowledge of dinosaur medicine is unclear, but what is clear is if her allegations are accurate, Moffitt Cancer Center and those responsible for age-shaming Staller could be in some hot water – like, boiled from an asteroid crashing into the earth hot water.
What’s even more damning about Staller’s claim against her former employer is that her firing may have been the result of retaliation.
Staller began working at Moffitt in 2011 and, according to lawsuit documents, received positive performance reviews. In December of 2013 Staller alleges she found out a younger male co-worker with less experience was earning a higher salary than she.
Statistically speaking, this is not surprising. On average women are paid just 78-cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.
Staller reportedly went to her superior with her newly acquired information. About two weeks after she complained, Staller was let go.
Her lawsuit alleges Staller attempted to resolve the issue with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, but those efforts were “exhausted” after more than 180-days passed without a determination from either agency.
Moffit claims they fired Staller because she forged a non-medication referral form. However, Staller says that is not true and, rather, she printed the doctor’s name and signed her own. That is considered proper procedure for a nurse practitioner.
The lawsuit alleges Staller suffers from “pain and suffering, extreme and severe mental anguish and emotional distress” as a result of her employers actions. It also states she “will continue to suffer a loss of earnings and other employment benefits and job opportunities.”
She is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 including attorney’s fees. The exact amount she is seeking is not specified in the filed documents.