Five Ex-PPG Employees Claim Age Discrimination

Article excerpt

PPG Industries Inc. is being sued by five former employees, each of whom claim they were fired for being too old and costly.

The paint, glass and chemical giant with headquarters Downtown faces a possible class-action suit filed Thursday in Pittsburgh's federal court. The company is accused of age discrimination, motivated in part by the perception that elderly employees are less aggressive than their younger counterparts and in part by a desire to stem escalating pension costs.

One plaintiff, Linda K. Austin, 56, of Richland Township, claims she was forced into early retirement last year following 38 years of employment and a second breast cancer surgery. Austin started with the company in 1968 as a mail room employee but worked her way up to color lab supervisor, attending chemistry classes at night.

Also suing the company are: Arthur C. Rupert, 58, of Cheswick; Larry L. Campbell, 61, of Raleigh; Kenneth J. Hunt, 58, of Irmo, S.C.; and Wade C. Bittner, 52, of Union Grove, N.C.

The lawsuit claims PPG violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by firing hundreds of employees because of age from the late 1990s through today.

The corporate culture at PPG began to change in 1997, when Raymond LeBoeuf became board chairman, according to the lawsuit. …