Randy Dossat was awarded $168,000 in lost pay and a further $1.7m in damages for pain and suffering after he alleged he was repeatedly targeted due to his age after the appointment of a new sales manager.
Roche said it was disappointed with the verdict and plans to “appeal and vigorously defend ourselves”.
The lawsuit claims that Mr Dossat was aged 55 when a new manager began to repeatedly call him “old school”, commented on his “tenure” at Roche and claimed he didn’t fit in with the “new environment” under their leadership.
When Mr Dossat complained at his treatment, senior managers at Roche did not conduct a thorough investigation, the lawsuit claims. He was then punished for his complaint, the suit adds.
Mr Dossat’s representative commented: “This verdict sends a clear message to employers that they should not retaliate against employees for complaining about discrimination in the workplace.”
The Swiss-based company, which says on its official website it employees around 80,000 globally, insists the discrimination case has “no merit”. “Roche is committed to ethical and lawful personnel practices… [and] to providing an environment where each individual is respected and supported, and is rewarded on the basis of personal achievement and contribution,” said a statement.