New Hampshire Man Wins Discrimination Case Against Market Basket Store, Case Settled for $134,000

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In a federal case, a New Hampshire man has been granted more than $134,000 in lost wages and damages after a jury sided with him, affirming that a Market Basket store discriminated against him based on his age.

DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc., the proprietors of the New England-centered Market Basket grocery chain, were found by the jury to have breached both the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination.

They allegedly favored younger employees for promotions over a seasoned worker in his 50s.

Rodney Martinez stands to gain $80,000 in lost wages, compensatory damages, and enhanced compensatory damages. Additionally, he has been granted $54,749 in liquidated damages — equal to the amount of lost wages determined by the court.

Martinez, aged 62 at the time, lodged a complaint in December 2022 in the United States District Court in Concord against DeMoulas Super Markets. (Credits: Gintautas Dumcius)

He had been employed as a product associate at a Market Basket store in Manchester, N.H. since 2012, according to court records.

As per the initial lawsuit, Martinez was a diligent worker throughout his tenure, rarely calling in sick and missing only one day due to a work-related injury.

He had begun working at the supermarket at the age of 55 and was around 59 when, despite being scheduled to work over 45 hours a week — a full-time workload — he did not receive corresponding benefits such as paid time off, increased pay, or dental insurance.

Martinez purportedly expressed his desire for a full-time position when he applied for the job and continuously throughout his employment.

However, despite his consistent efforts, Martinez was overlooked for promotion several times.

In one instance, a 27-year-old was promoted to a full-time role in May 2019, followed by a 22-year-old in December of the same year, despite Martinez expressing interest in a full-time position after the former’s departure.

In discussions regarding promotion, Martinez alleges his manager questioned his age and whether he would be willing to step down once he reached an advanced age, hinting at a preference for younger employees for future managerial roles.

He had been employed as a product associate at a Market Basket store in Manchester, N.H. since 2012, according to court records. (Credits: Gregory Rec)

DeMoulas Super Markets refuted Martinez’s allegations, claiming that the conversation between Martinez and his manager never occurred and that his performance declined only when he felt unfairly treated regarding promotions.

The company also contested Martinez’s assertion that he expressed interest in full-time work.

In a decision rendered in August 2022, the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission found “probable cause” that discrimination had taken place.

During its investigation, it was discovered that in 2018, Market Basket’s Manchester location promoted 15 employees to full-time positions, with 14 of them being under 46 years old.

Martinez’s original complaint contends that Market Basket’s hiring practices, favoring younger employees for promotions, constitute strong evidence of age discrimination.

Nate O'Hara
Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.

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