Sunday, March 9, 2003

Laid-off engineer wins $7.8M
in age-bias case

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A jury ordered Philips Medical Systems to pay a former electrical engineer $7.8 million in an age-discrimination lawsuit.

Thomas Sadowski, 56, of Mentor, worked for more than 23 years for the medical equipment manufacturer before he lost his job in August 2000 as part of job cuts at the plant.

He was laid off with about 30 others from the 1,000-employee operation.

His lawyer, Christopher Thormanm said Sadowski was one of three workers cut in his department, all 54 or older. Sadowski had gotten a raise and a merit promotion not long before.

Sadowski asked to be rehired after he learned the company had openings. He offered evidence that there were almost 20 engineering jobs available and that, despite a company policy of transferring laid-off workers into openings, it refused to consider him when he applied for six of them.

The jury ruled unanimously Friday that Highland Heights-based Philips discriminated. Sadowski was awarded $1.8 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages, plus legal fees.

Philips Medical, the former Marconi Medical Systems, is a division of Royal Philips Electronics of Amsterdam.

Philips plans an appeal, spokeswoman Heidi Wilson said.

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