Man Files Federal Lawsuit Over Age Discrimination

A Charlotte man said North Carolina’s controversial nondiscrimination law is keeping him from getting justice after he said he was fired because of his age.

“It was purely age discrimination,” Rick Compton, 60, said. “They were just getting rid of the old guy.”

Compton spent 9 1/2 years working for BB&T but he claims that, despite a profitable year, he learned he was being let go last month just three months shy of being able to retire with benefits.

“I was the only one laid off in our business unit and I was also the oldest person,” he said.

Compton filed a discrimination complaint against BB&T with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Compton can no longer file a wrongful termination lawsuit on the state level because of a clause in the House Bill 2 ordinance passed by the North Carolina Legislature.

Channel 9 uncovered the sentence in the bill that states “no person may bring any civil action based on the public policy expressed herein.”

“The effect of the amendments are to eliminate the ability of employees in North Carolina to sue their employers for wrongful discharge for discrimination,” Brian Clarke, a Charlotte School of Law professor, said.

Compton has strong feelings for lawmakers in Raleigh while Compton’s attorney pursues a federal case.

“I feel like they have failed and they need to be willing to say we may have made a mistake and go back and correct this,” Compton said.

Compton’s attorney, Josh van Kampen, said federal cases are often more expensive, take longer and allow much less in damages.

“Rick is one of the lucky ones,” the attorney said. “We filed an EEOC charge for him within 180 days, so at least the federal claim is still there. For many others who were wrongfully terminated, the 180 day filing period is long gone. It’s probably a get out of jail free card for those employers no matter how blatant the discrimination as a result of HB2.”

BB&T statement: “We do appreciate the opportunity to respond but, due to associate privacy concerns, we’re unable to offer any comment on the story.”