Former Kennywood employee sues for age and sex discrimination

Posted Friday, February 5, 2010 12:02 PM | Contributed by ideame

A former employee of Kennywood has filed a lawsuit, accusing the amusement park of age and sex discrimination. Carol Palangio, 50, of Wilkins Township, claims she was fired as part of a staff reduction in January 2009, according to a copy of the complaint that was filed in federal court. Palangio said her job as operations manager for the park's refreshment company was filled by a man in his 20s with less than five years of experience.

Read more from WTAE/Pittsburgh.

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Friday, February 5, 2010 1:47 PM

I realize I probably don't have all the facts here, but it sounds like someone's grumpy about losing their job. The fact that she technically has more years of experience does not necessarily make her better suited for her job than the younger man that replaced her. The simple logic of her argument is flawed: how does a man being 20 and having <5 years experience automatically make him less qualified? Wouldn't not considering him for a job because of his age and lesser experience also be age discrimination, just of the opposite sort? Should be an easy win for the 'wood.


Bill
ಠ_ಠ

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Friday, February 5, 2010 2:30 PM

Except that she might be, with her service, at a higher pay scale than those below her in seniority. Its a not so sneaky corporate trick to eliminate the higher paid employees and replace them with those who don't make as much. Maybe that's her angle.

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Friday, February 5, 2010 4:10 PM

It may also be a case of an employee used to doing things her way for so long being unwilling to follow the new bosses' system. Manager or not, if you're going to insist on bucking the boss at every step of the way, even if your way is better, you're not helping your career.

I was also surprised while reading the comments at how many people came out and said she was difficult to deal with and that there were quite a few people she didn't get along with.

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Friday, February 5, 2010 7:12 PM
Jeff's avatar

The thing is, it's not against the law to replace someone with another who is less experienced. Happens all of the time. Yes, more experienced people are older, but where do you find someone the same age who has less experience and can therefore be paid less? Not saying that's what happened, and I'm definitely not saying it's right, but that could be the situation.

I think they'd have a hard time proving this in court, unless there's some smoking gun they're saving for trial (or negotiation).


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, February 5, 2010 10:05 PM

I know how she feels. A new GM came in to my park before the season started and once the season was over I was "restructured" out. The person that took over my duties came from the GM's old park. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Now I have a very tarnished image of a certain hard rocking chain.


Dave Dragon, go Dave Dragon, and the Star Force Five!

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Friday, February 5, 2010 11:59 PM

Well Elitch's Gardens may be 'restructured' out anyway. Send me a resume.

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Monday, February 8, 2010 8:42 AM

I thought the same thing as Jeff and RCMAC. Cutting a position to replace with cheaper labor happens frequently, and isn't necessarily illegal. The fact that he's a man should be irrelevant as well unless this woman has PROOF otherwise.


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Monday, February 8, 2010 8:49 AM

Companies have been doing this for years. Laying off the older portions of the workforce and replacing them with college grads for a fraction of the labor cost. Why is she so special that she should get a payday for it?


John
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Monday, February 8, 2010 9:20 AM

Isn't she discriminating against the replacement's age by suggesting he couldn't possibly be a better fit for the position?


Brandon | Facebook

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Monday, February 8, 2010 8:55 PM

Changes like this happen all the time, especially when there's a regime change. The new owners are going to want to do things their way, and it may be easier to do that with younger personnel who don't have to be retrained or at least unlearn old habits.

My former company was bought out by new owners in 2006. A few people constantly pissed and moaned about every change the new owners wanted to implement. Upper management let me know they were aware of it, because it became obvious that these people became less productive. So when the recession hit and people had to be laid off, guess which ones were among the first to be let go?

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Monday, February 8, 2010 10:09 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

They still have to be careful about how they make these kinds changes, though, or else they could be found to be discriminatory. The discrimination laws protect people age 40 and over, so they really need to have documented their reasons well. They can't just let an older person go so that they can hire a younger person; that's against the law.

If they said they were downsizing, but then hired a younger person into the exact same role, she may have a case.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, February 8, 2010 10:40 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
If they said they were downsizing, but then hired a younger person into the exact same role, she may have a case.

Exactly. Which is why you downsize and eliminate the position and then hire the replacement under a new position with a new title that happens to encompass many of the same job duties.


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Monday, February 8, 2010 10:53 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Indeed. And if that's what they did, then she doesn't likely stand a chance with her suit.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010 9:24 AM

RatherGoodBear said:
It may also be a case of an employee used to doing things her way for so long being unwilling to follow the new bosses' system. Manager or not, if you're going to insist on bucking the boss at every step of the way, even if your way is better, you're not helping your career.

I was also surprised while reading the comments at how many people came out and said she was difficult to deal with and that there were quite a few people she didn't get along with.

Not to mention that entrenched bad management is bad for the Company.


Vernon J
422 N. 40th St.
Omaha, NE 68131
516-4401

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010 10:52 PM

So Vernon, are you saying Kennywood is bad management? Many (actually, probably all who actually work full time in this business) would disagree fully on that statement. According to your track record, you have never visited the park.

I would be hard pressed to find a better seasonally run park in America.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010 7:34 AM

Do we know if the replacement was a new hire or promoted from with in. Makes me thing from within if she knows his experience level. If so this suit will not hold up. They reduced the work force and promoted from within.


Thanks,
DMC

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:15 AM

Johnson, if you look closer at Vernon's comment, I don't think he is alleging what you allege he is alleging. His statement was:

"...Entrenched bad management is bad for the Company."

Recall that the person involved in this case was a manager. If that person was an example of "bad management" as suggested by the comments that RatherGoodBear alluded to, then if anything he's defending the actions of the rest of the park's management staff!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Wednesday, February 10, 2010 3:38 PM

Yes, Dave you are correct. That could have gone both ways, but Kennywood overall is 'good'.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010 4:15 PM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Agent Johnson said:
According to your track record, you have never visited the park

Wow.. If CBs track record is the litmus of where you have and havent been, I guess I need to get back to updating it (as its fallen on the lesser important list to update in my world).


Mind you.. its a nice idea.. but I know where Ive been :)


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