On March 22, 2023, Wigdor LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of Brian Mullett, 68, against Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG) and Pinnacle Financial Partners (collectively, the “Bank”) for, among other things, terminating Mr. Mullett’s employment because of his age and paying him less than his younger peers, in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws.
As alleged in the complaint, in 2008, Mr. Mullet, who served for more than two decades protecting his community as a member of the Syracuse Police Department ultimately rising to the level of Detective Sergeant, embarked on a second career, joining BHG as a Vice President in its sales division. Mr. Mullett was responsible for establishing relationships with community banks, promoting BHG’s financial products and selling BHG’s loans to other financial institutions. He was remarkably successful at his job, opening new territories for BHG and eventually earning a promotion to Senior Vice President.
But in recent years it became clear that the Bank preferred younger employees. Bank executives admitted publicly that it was their “goal” to support millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996). To that end, almost everyone the Bank hired into Mr. Mullett’s sales group was in their 20s or 30s. At the same time, the Bank began to transfer Mr. Mullett’s sales territory to his younger colleagues, including territories that he built from the ground up.
Mr. Mullett complained about the discriminatory treatment, including that he was paid less than his younger peers. One Bank executive refused to address Mullett’s concerns, stating, “I’m not talking about that.” Others urged Mullett, who had recently turned 65, to “retire.” But Mr. Mullett refused to be forced into retirement.
On October 24, 2022, the Bank terminated Mr. Mullett’s employment, claiming – falsely – that he was the casualty of a corporate “reorganization.” In fact, Mr. Mullett was the victim of unlawful discrimination as the Bank continued to advertise to fill his position.
The Complaint can be read here.
Statement from Douglas H. Wigdor and Valdi Licul, Partners at Wigdor LLP:
“Brian served his community proudly for more than two decades as a member of the Syracuse Police Department. When that chapter of his career ended, he did something remarkable: he embarked on a successful second career in finance. But that all came crashing down when BHG and Pinnacle decided Mr. Mullett was too old and should ‘retire.’ He deserved better.”