(SNO) — A former LIAT employee was awarded US$1.55 million in damages by a jury on St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands) on Tuesday after he took the airline to court for firing him because of his age.|
In 2011, LIAT offered all employees over age 62 a retirement package in exchange for voluntary resignations, but William Cherubin wanted to stay on and he turned down the offer.
According to court documents, on June 4, 2015, LIAT fired Cherubin without notice, citing several incidents involving violations of company policy, including two alleged incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2012.
Cherubin and his attorneys alleged that LIAT actually fired him because of his age and not because of poor performance, as the airline argued.
Virgin Island laws prohibit the discrimination of employees because of age.
“The reason LIAT gave was false; the real reason was age discrimination,” Attorney Vince Colianni of Colianni and Colianni told The Virgin Island Consortium on Wednesday. “We’re very pleased. We think the verdict sends a message to LIAT that it can’t fire Virgin Islands employees because of age. It shows that the VI protects its citizens.”
Cherubin was 70 when he was fired by LIAT in 2015. He worked at the airline for 47 years. Court documents show he began as a ticket agent on St. Croix in 1968, and was promoted to ground operations manager in 1973.