#MeToo Hits the Mortgage Industry: Summit Funding Loses Age Discrimination Case
SACRAMENTO, August 9, 2018 — National mortgage banking firm Summit Funding, Inc. based in Sacramento CA lost a $1.6 million binding arbitration for age discrimination and constructive discharge on July 5th. The case is now in Superior Court to confirm the Award and convert it to a judgment against Summit.
A former Senior Vice President of the National Builder Division was awarded compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, by the Hon. John Flaherty (Ret.) based on consistent outrageous discriminatory comments made by Summit profit participant and CORE coach Rick Ruby.
Seven former employees were called to substantiate the claims and all of that testimony was found persuasive. Ruby’s comments were heard by employees and management, live, on video, and on conference calls. According to the Award, Ruby said things like he had “no use” for older workers, “dinosaurs” and “Humpty Dumptys.” Ruby encouraged Summit to hire “young and sexy” and said that older workers should get out of the mortgage business and lacked “fire in their bellies.” Summit’s defense was rejected as “pretextual” and the Judge specifically ruled that Ruby’s discriminatory conduct was “enabled and condoned” by Summit President Todd Scrima.
In addition to having to endure discriminatory comments, Judge Flaherty agreed that the Former Senior VP proved that she was forced out of the company based on her age. The claimant received effusive praise, raises, and bonuses throughout her employment.
“Discrimination of any type in the workplace should never be tolerated,” said attorney Nancy Gray of Gray & Associates, P.C., who represented the employee. “The wholesale disregard of the law, professional ethics and decency demanded swift action and we hope the judgment against Summit will deter them and others from committing similar conduct.”
Judge Flaherty determined that Summit acted with malice, fraud and oppression, resulting in an award of punitive damages against Summit.
The case is Von Hoffmann vs. Summit Funding, Inc., Sacramento Superior Court Case Number 34-2018-00237321.