ageism, Carla Smith, Atlanta, lawsuit

Former Director of IT Sues City of Atlanta For Age Discrimination

An ex-official for the City of Atlanta has filed a lawsuit against the governing entity for age discrimination and retaliation.

Former Director of Information Technology Carla Smith alleges she was systemically forced out due to old age. In a complaint made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September, Smith claims that a younger supervisor fired her after she raised concerns about ageism in the workplace, which is against federal law. The 53-year-old woman reported to a newly promoted manager, who was under 40 at the time.

According to WSB-TV, she alleged in her complaint that her newly appointed manager directed her to fire an older employee for no real reason. After taking the matter to human resources, the former director of IT claimed that her boss retaliated against her by demoting her and terminating her from the role she had held since 2019.

In Smith’s recap of what occurred after she contacted human resources, she detailed how she was let go after returning from a vacation.

“I was allowed to maintain my current role for a period of time until I took a vacation,” shared the former official. “When I took a vacation and I came back, I was told I was being terminated. It was traumatic, to say the least. I feel as if, like I said, I’m just one of millions of middle-aged professionals [who] really just want to do our jobs. I know that the treatment, I feel, was unfair. I also think that treatment was illegal.”

Amid the federal investigation prompted by the EEOC, the supervisor in question resigned from her position, which Smith claims authenticates her story.

Ageism is especially harmful to Black people in the workforce, as it is prevalent at all stages of one’s career. While Black employees in the entry-level stages have to work “twice as hard” as their white counterparts to prove themselves, they are marginalized once again when they reach an older age, per The Washington Post. This discriminatory practice extends beyond the professional realm, leading to wealth gaps between families of differing races and, thus, the quality of their livelihoods.

While the City of Atlanta has refused comment on the matter, Smith’s attorney remains firm that they are rightful in their legal action and hopes justice will prevail.