A veteran 52-year-old security guard for the San Francisco 49ers claims he was let go to make way for younger men and boost the team’s effort to rebrand itself a “start-up” in its move to Silicon Valley.
The age discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday by john Garvey claims he was an excellent employee for 15 years but was let go in 2014 when the security staff was told by management that team CEO Jed York “is going around Silicon Valley hiring the best talent” for the security department.
Garvey alleged that he and others were let go to make way for “young men” straight out of police academies.
At the time, 80 percent of the 14 security officers were over 40 years old, with some over 60, according to the lawsuit.
Over a two year period many of the older staff were let go in what the lawsuit alleges was a “pattern and practice of eliminating their older workers.”
Garvey alleged that York hired Gideon Yu, a former executive at Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo, to “re-brand the 49ers as a technology ‘startup’ within the NFL, so that they could achieve their objective of moving the 49ers to a new stadium in Silicon Valley.”
Yu allegedly referred to older workers as “legacy employees,” and in 2012 York purportedly acknowledged he wanted to hire younger technology workers from nearby Silicon Valley.
Garvey alleged that after his 2014 termination he was informed the team also eliminated all its game-day ushers, the majority of whom were between 50 to 85 years old.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction against alleged future age discrimination.
Case: Garvey v. San Francisco 49ers, No. 15-1367