Foster Dairy Farms, Crystal Creamery Sued for Alleged Employee Discrimination

The plaintiff, who claimed that he was passed up for a promotion to the Director of Transportation position because “he is an older African-American employee,” filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Foster Dairy Farms and Crystal Creamery Inc. in the Northern District of California last week asking for damages and injunctive relief. He alleged that his age and race caused the defendants to refuse to promote him despite his “superior qualifications and experience.” 

The defendants produce and distribute dairy products. The plaintiff reportedly began working in the defendant’s transportation department in November of 2008. The plaintiff worked for Foster Dairy Farms and Crystal Creamery as a Depot Branch Manager, reporting directly to the Director of Transportation. The complaint said that the Director of Transportation position, as far as the plaintiff knows, has been held by a white man, and most people who have held the position have been younger than the plaintiff. Further, the plaintiff said that he is one of only two African Americans who has been selected by the defendants for a managerial role at the company. 

Specifically, the complaint purported that younger Caucasion employees were picked for the Director of Transportation role in 2012 and 2014. The plaintiff reportedly filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC) in 2017 after a younger white male in a similar position was allowed to delegate purchase orders, but the plaintiff was not. While the charge was pending, he learned that the company had interviewed three younger white men for the Director of Transportation position to fill another opening, but had not posted the position for the plaintiff to apply. The plaintiff was allowed to interview for the role, but purported that the defendants selected a “younger, Caucasion employee,” who was “less qualified.” The charge with the EEOC was later dismissed. 

The complaint claimed that the defendants breached Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The plaintiff said that he has exhausted administrative remedies, after the EEOC said it stopped investigating the plaintiff’s amended charges he submitted after he was denied the promotion in 2017. 

The plaintiff, represented by Oliver Schreiber & Chao LLP, asked the court for damages, back pay and front pay for lost wages, to be placed in the Director of Transportation position, and injunctive relief stopping the defendants from engaging in discriminatory practices, including requiring training to “eradicate unlawful discrimination” at the plaintiff’s workplace.