Does Disney Discriminate Against the Elderly?
On June 10, Kevin Brady, a 26-year veteran story writer for Walt Disney Pictures, filed suit against the studio alleging age discrimination. Brady further alleges that Disney has a “history and pattern of terminating long-term employees and replacing them with younger employees who have less experience at the company.”
Brady was hired as a full-time employee in 1988, and received several promotions over the following decades, culminating in his promotion to head of the story department in 2005. Brady says he consistently received excellent performance reviews. But in April 2013, he was fired by Disney Studios Motion Picture Production President Michael Sean Baily, allegedly because the company was making fewer movies. This is a claim Brady strongly disputes.
After writing a letter to Disney Chairman Alan Horn laying out his accomplishments while at the studio, Brady received a letter from Horn saying he was “impressed” by Brady’s “progression and dedication to the company.” However, Horn never offered a meeting or spoke of reinstatement.
Coincidentally, Brady was replaced by Bailey’s 20-year-old female assistant. Brady says he tried to apply for the job, but was told by Disney’s human resources department that it was already filled. In addition, Brady claims a 69-year-old employee in the story department was also recently fired.
Brady filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and was advised that the case was closed, and he therefore had the right to file a lawsuit. He was earning $135,000, health benefits, a pension, and retirement benefits as a Disney employee. Brady is seeking special and prospective damages due to lost future earnings. If Brady prevails, he could be entitled to millions of dollars.