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Presbyterian hit with age-discrimination suit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six people have filed a lawsuit against Presbyterian Healthcare Services and a former executive alleging they were subject to age discrimination in the information technology department.

Yolanda Delgado, Diane Klenda, Anna Lopez, Patrick Maes, Monica Ortiz and Troy Samora are described in district court filings as “long-term former (Presbyterian) employees who range in age from 47 to 64.”

The lawsuit claims that Presbyterian engaged in a “concerted effort to staff the information technology ranks with younger employees and to get rid of older employees” by asking them in June 2017 to apply for “their former positions, which had been renamed but remained functionally the same as before” or other positions at the company, and firing those who did not obtain such positions.

Also named in the suit is Sony Jacob, Presbyterian’s former chief information officer. The suit alleges Jacob facilitated the terminations “by using improper means, including subterfuge, deceit, misrepresentation and age discrimination,” including falsely accusing the plaintiffs of poor performance in their positions.

Jacob did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Presbyterian said in a statement that it complies with all applicable civil rights laws and is in the process of reviewing the matter with Jacob, who it said is now employed by another health system out of state.

“While we are unable to provide specific details about this case, we are confident Presbyterian acted in accordance with applicable policies and guidelines,” the company said in the statement.

Christopher Moody, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, told the Journal he has requested a jury trial.

“My clients feel they were not treated appropriately,” said Moody.

The lawsuit accuses Presbyterian of violating the New Mexico Human Rights Act. It accuses Jacob of “tortious interference with prospective contractual relations.”

The plaintiffs are seeking to recover lost compensation and benefits, non-pecuniary damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs and pre- and post-judgement interest, according to the lawsuit.