SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The San Francisco 49ers fired two veteran managers to make room for young Silicon Valley tech workers, the men claim in an age discrimination complaint.
Former facilities manager Anthony Lozano, 56, and former director of video operations Keith Yanagi, 59, sued the team and its CEO Jed York on Jan. 2 in Federal Court. Both men had worked for the team for more than two decades.
They claim that York wants to rebrand the 49ers as an NFL "technology 'startup'" so the team could move to a new stadium in Silicon Valley. They claim York "openly admitted" that he wanted to hire younger workers from Silicon Valley.
"When asked why the 49ers wanted to hire these young technology workers, York said, 'Because they made a lot of money, they did a lot of cool things before they turned 40 years old, and they don't want to play golf six days a week," according to the complaint.
York then "engaged in a campaign" to fire older senior managers, the pair say.
49er's Human Resources Manager Tina Rojas said that "a lot" of senior managers were fired in 2011 and 2012, and that there were no efforts to comply with an age discrimination law, according to the complaint.
Lozano says he was told he was fired because the team was "going in a different direction."
They seek punitive damages for age discrimination, wrongful firing, fraud and concealment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
They are represented by David Poore, with Brown Poore, of Walnut Creek.
Contact Arvin Temkar at [email protected]
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