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Kansas City Chiefs win age discrimination lawsuit

Kansas City Chiefs win age discrimination lawsuit

The Kansas City Chiefs football team did not violate state age discrimination laws when it fired its former maintenance manager, a Jackson County, Mo., jury ruled on Wednesday.

Steven Cox, who was 61 when the Chiefs fired him in October 2010, had accused the team of falsifying the reason for his termination, which he claimed was motivated primarily by his age. Mr. Cox sued the team in June 2011 in the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County in Independence, Mo., for violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act, which prohibits employers from firing workers based on their age.

At trial, attorneys for the Chiefs argued that Mr. Cox's termination had not been age-related and that he was instead fired for giving one of his employees an unauthorized $5,000 raise.

On Wednesday, nine out of 12 jurors — the state minimum for rendering a verdict — agreed that Mr. Cox's firing was above board.

Mr. Cox's attorney, Lewis Galloway, said in an interview with Business Insurance that he planned to appeal the jury's decision.

“We have every expectation that this will be tried a second time, and a third time if necessary, and that the next jury will be able to consider volumes of evidence that this jury wasn't permitted to hear,” Mr. Galloway said.

Mr. Galloway said the Chiefs' alleged treatment of Mr. Cox was part of a pattern of discriminatory practices against older employees.

The team is currently defending three other age discrimination lawsuits from former employees. Most recently, in December 2011, the team was sued by Brenda Sniezek, a former community relations director.

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