4 SUE LESLIE FAY BRASS ON AGE BIAS, COERCION
NEW YORK — A multi-million dollar suit charging age discrimination and coercion was filed Thursday by four former employees of The Leslie Fay Cos.
Named as defendants in the Federal Court suit were John J. Pomerantz, chairman and chief executive officer of Leslie Fay; Alan Golub, former president of the company, and Laura H. Pomerantz, wife of John and executive vice president.
The suit contends that the four employees were let go because the company was “looking for fresh young faces” and three of them were coerced into signing general releases. The suit says the dismissals were part of a reduction-in-force program instituted in the summer of 1992 by the defendants.
It maintains that John and Laura Pomerantz and Golub controlled the management of Leslie Fay and had a strong bias against older personnel and intended to “eliminate them from Leslie Fay as ‘dead wood.”‘
Plaintiffs are Jacob V. Falbaum, who had been director of distribution for the dress division and was let go in August 1992 at the age of 53; Anthony E. Gill, production manager, let go on June 6, 1992, at the age of 57; Emile Lewkowiez, director of quality control, dismissed on Aug. 7, 1992, at the age of 56, and Raymond J. Terwilliger, vice president of human resources, terminated on Aug. 8, 1992, at the age of 44. Each seeks damages for loss of compensation, damage to reputations and pain and suffering.
All but Lewkowiez claim they were coerced into signing a release, which they contend is null and void. Because Lewkowiez refused to sign the release he was denied other employment or separation benefits, the suit charges.
The company — in Chapter 11, a move taken in April 1993 in the midst of an accounting scandal — is not named a defendant in the action. However, a spokesman said Thursday that while it has not yet seen the complaint, “we are familiar with the general allegations, most of which were nullified by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission when it considered them. We will contest the allegations in court and expect to be vindicated.”
— Fairchild News Service