The former director of the Story Department at Walt Disney Studios is taking the media giant to court with allegations of age discrimination and wrongful termination. In a complaint filed this week in LA Superior Court seeking unspecified damages, Kevin Brady says he was pink-slipped under false pretenses by Disney last June after nearly 26 seemingly successful years with the company. “While the Disney defendants claimed that Plaintiff’s position was eliminated, Plaintiff was actually replaced by an individual in her late 20s or early 30s,” says the 11-page complaint filed Tuesday (read it here) by the 48-year-old.
Being that Brady was making $135,000 a year according to the filing plus heath, pension and retirement benefits, and that he is seeking special and prospective damages due to lost future earnings, this could add up very quickly into the millions if it is calculated to age of retirement. “Additionally, to the extent the Disney defendants contend that Plaintiff’s replacement was hired for a newly created position, the Disney defendants failed to consider or hire Plaintiff for this position even though it is the same or substantially similar to the position that Plaintiff held for the past 10 years of his employment,” reads the filing, which seeks a jury trial. Brady’s apparent replacement in a renamed position was a former assistant of Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey. And then there’s the kicker: “Further, the Disney defendants have a history and pattern of terminating long term employees and replacing them with younger employees who have less experience at the company.”
After first learning in April 2013 that his job was going to end that June, Brady’s complaint says he wrote to Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn asking him to reconsider the axing. While Horn “was impressed by Plaintiff’s progression and dedication to the company, he did not offer to meet with Plaintiff, did not offer to discuss Plaintiff’s situation with him, nor did he offer nor even suggest that the company would reconsider his termination,” says the complaint. That’s when Bailey stepped in supposedly to tell Brady he was being let go because Disney “were eliminating his position and because the company was making fewer movies” – two assertions Brady disputes.
Earlier this year, Brady’s lawyer Scott R. Ames says in the legal paperwork, his client filed an age discrimination complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The state agency issued a case closure on May 28 but gave Brady, as is common, a right to sue letter – in this case against The Walt Disney Company. They did the same on June 2 in regards to the Disney Company and Disney Studios and Disney Worldwide. This week’s lawsuit is the result of those letters.
“As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff has suffered special damages in the form of lost earnings, benefits and/or out-of-pocket expenses in an amount according to proof at the time of trial,” notes the complaint. “As a further direct and proximate result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff will suffer additional special damages in the form of lost future earnings, benefits and/or other prospective damages in an amount according to proof at the time of trial,” it adds. “Therefore, an assessment of punitive damages should be made against Defendants in an amount sufficient to punish them and to prevent them from willfully engaging in future discriminatory and/or retaliatory conduct.”