FOREST CITY, Iowa – Six former employees are suing Winnebago Industries and two company executives for age and disability discrimination and retaliation.
Mark Brackey, James Clark, Barb Garza, Mark Haverly, Scott McColloch, and Julie Stecker say they were among 35 Winnebago employees laid off on or shortly after July 27, 2018. In their lawsuit, which was filed on October 4, the six claim that almost all of those fired employees were older.
Brackey says he started work at Winnebago Industries in 1983 and his replacement was 32-year-old.
Clark says he started at Winnebago in 2010 and was fired after getting one knee surgery and telling the company he might need another. Clark says he was also replaced with a younger worker.
Garza says she got a job at Winnebago in 1993 and was terminated after making a complaint on a whistleblowers phone line about company management leaving early without clocking out and taking days off while still getting paid. Garza says she was never given a reason for her firing.
Haverly says he started at Winnebago in 1983 and filed a workers’ compensation claim after getting a back injury in 1992. Haverly says he was told he would never be promoted because he filed the claim and says younger workers were then routinely promoted over him.
McColloch says he was hired at Winnebago in 1982 and was given no reason for his firing in 2018.
Stecker says she started at Winnebago in 2006 and developed a medical condition due to work stress. After surgery to correct the condition, Stecker says she took eight weeks of medical leave, then was replaced by a 31-year-old and told it was “corporate restructuring.”
The six plaintiffs accuse Winnebago Industries of violating state law by firing them due to their age, physical disability, or as retaliation for workplace complaints and are asking for money to replace lost earnings and benefits, for emotional distress, and for attorneys’ fees.
Winnebago Industries has not filed a response to the lawsuit, according to online court records.