Rams Being Sued for Age Discrimination

The following article was written by Spencer Wingate.

Former St. Louis Rams equipment manager Todd Hewitt is suing the team and three of their other entities for wrongly firing him. Hewitt claims the Rams fired him along with six other employees because of their age.   Dan Linza (age 70, head of security); John Oswald (52, vice president of operations); Jim Anderson (54, trainer); Ray Ogas (60, director of player relations); Pam Benoist (68, skybox coordinator); and Bill Stover (64, team photographer) were the other former Rams employees dismissed due to age discrimination.

Hewitt states he worked for the Rams equipment department for forty years. He worked as the team’s equipment manager from 1985 until he was unjustly fired on January 7th 2011. He transitioned with the team as they relocated from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995. Hewitt was recognized as NFL Equipment Manager of the Year in 1997.

When the Rams hired Steve Spagnuolo in January 2009 he began to verbally harass Mr. Hewitt about his age. He told Hewitt he was too old for his job and the acronym NFL stood for “Not For Long employment”. On January 7th 2011, Spagnuolo called Hewitt into his office where General Manager Bill Devaney was also present. Spagnuolo told Hewitt the team was not going to retain him as they were going in a different direction. Hewitt was less than ten months away from being eligible to receive extended health benefits for himself and family. The benefits would have made Hewitt eligible for early retirement. Upon his dismissal Hewitt contacted Chip Rosenbloom, one of the team’s owners, who told him he should not have been fired. Hewitt is seeking actual and punitive damages for violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act. Spagnuolo and Devaney have since been fired. During their three seasons leading the Rams they complied a record of 10-38.

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