A marketing executive originally from Long Island alleged that he was fired after complaining that his bosses discriminated against him for his age, wearing khakis, and being “too American.”
Gray Hollett reportedly filed an Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint this month against his former employer, Boydon World Corporation, a global executive search company where he was hired as vice president of marketing in 2006. He was canned in January.
“I believe that my age, national origin, and complaints about discrimination were unlawful factors in the decision to terminate my employment,” the 61-year-old wrote in his complaint, according to the New York Post, which first reported the story. “I felt ‘shaken’ by these unsubstantiated attacks.”
Headquartered in Westchester County, Boydon has more than 65 offices in 40 countries. One in five American workers age 40 and older say they have faced discrimination based on their age while at work, according to the 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace study.
Hollet, who lived in Connecticut at he time, claimed that Jörg Kasten, a Germany-based managing partner, called Hollett “too American,” said Hollet needed to be “more European,” criticized Hollet for wearing khaki pants, and suggested Hollett dress more casually like younger colleagues.
In addition, Hollett claimed Nick Robeson, a UK-based managing partner for Boyden, told Hollett it was “time to retire” after what Robeson called an “outdated” marketing decision. Hollett said he was fired in January after repeatedly complaining to the company’s CEO about the alleged ageism and anti-American discrimination.
A Boyden spokesman told the Post that the company “stands by its record of diversity.”
The EEOC has 180 days from the date of the Oct. 1 filing to complete its investigation. Once completed, Hollett can either request an administrative hearing or for the agency to issue a decision based on its findings. His attorney can then file a federal lawsuit.