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Lawsuit Targets Ikea Over Allegations of Age Discrimination

— February 22, 2019

Ikea was recently named in yet another age discrimination lawsuit for the fifth time in a little over a year.

For the fifth time in about a year, Ikea has been named in a lawsuit alleging age discrimination. The first suit was filed in Philadelphia in 2018 by 54-year-old employee Frank Donofrio. According to Donofrio, he was “unable to be promoted to management despite excellent performance.” The next two lawsuits were filed in August 2018 and the fourth was filed in December 2018. In each case, the plaintiffs accused Ikea of age discrimination, and some also alleged “gender discrimination regarding pay equity.”

Image of a Workplace Discrimination Graphic
Workplace Discrimination Graphic; image courtesy of mohamed_hassan via Pixabay,

The latest suit was filed by Brandon Paine, 48. Paine is an Ikea employee in New Haven, Connecticut. He filed his class action suit against the company in district court. According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s an Active Selling Leader and has been since 2004. So what happened? Well, according to Paine, “Ikea demoted him, as part of a larger, and controversial, restructuring effort at the company in the United States, and systematically turned him down for promotions based on his age.”

Paine’s suit, along with the others that have been filed within the last year, all argue that Ikea “has fostered a workplace culture of discrimination, which systematically recruits and promotes young talent rather than workers over 40.” Things really took a turn for the worse for Paine and the other plaintiffs when Ikea began aggressively restructuring in October 2017. The restructuring was called O4G.

Ikea isn’t the only company that recently came under fire for age discrimination, though. In fact, other the last few years, well-known companies like Google, HP, and Marriott International have been sued for age discrimination by current and former employees.

In response to Paine’s allegations, a spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the specifics of the case. The company did, however, issue the following statement:

“At IKEA Group, we have an unwavering commitment to inclusion.  Equality is a human right, and it is embedded in our core values. We believe everyone has the right to be treated fairly and be given equal opportunities– regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, or any other dimension of their identity. A diverse and inclusive work environment improves our business, strengthens our competitiveness and contributes to IKEA being a unique, meaningful and trusted brand, company, and employer. IKEA Group takes accusations of any form of discrimination very seriously, and we were disappointed to learn of the lawsuit filed by Mr. Paine. As this is pending litigation regarding a co-worker, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. We will remain committed to creating an inclusive work environment that is free of discrimination.”


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