Almanac

News - May 21, 2014

Circus Club suit alleges age discrimination

by Renee Batti

The former head of maintenance at the Menlo Circus Club who was fired last November is suing the Atherton club and its general manager, alleging that his firing was due to age discrimination and retaliation, and that he has been cheated out of the bonus he's owed.

Robert Crosby, 60, filed the lawsuit on May 7 in San Mateo County Superior Court. He had worked for the club at 190 Park Lane since 1978, and was promoted in 1989 to maintenance supervisor, placing him in charge of maintenance for all club facilities and a crew of 10 employees.

The lawsuit names the Menlo Circus Club and Christian Thon, the club's general manager.

An email request for comment sent to Mr. Thon on May 9 was not responded to. A Circus Club staff member told the Almanac that Mr. Thon is on vacation and unavailable until he returns.

Mr. Crosby's attorney, Yosef Peretz, declined to comment.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Crosby maintains he had "a positive working relationship" with all five general managers he worked for before Mr. Thon took over the position in 2009. Soon after Mr. Thon was hired, the lawsuit alleges, he began making comments about Mr. Crosby's "personality and appearance and continued to question his leadership and decision-making ..."

The lawsuit also alleges that in June 2013, Mr. Thon, who lives on the club's grounds, asked Mr. Crosby to move the fence line that divided his house from other portions of the grounds to allow him to increase the size of his yard. Mr. Crosby balked at the request, saying he wanted approval from the board of directors before making such a change, the lawsuit says. Mr. Crosby ultimately asked for board approval through proper channels, and the request was denied, according to the lawsuit.

"After that incident, Thon's harassment of (Mr. Crosby) dramatically increased," the lawsuit alleges.

After Mr. Crosby's firing, the lawsuit says, Mr. Thon sent an email to the other department heads informing them of the dismissal, and saying that he hoped the action would "force" Mr. Crosby to spend his time with his grandchildren, being the "granddad that he so naturally falls into."

Mr. Crosby is seeking payment of the bonus he says is non-discretionary and constitutes 15 percent of his salary; general damages, including for emotional distress and mental anguish; and punitive damages.

Mr. Crosby has been unable to find work since his firing, the lawsuit says.

Comments

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 22, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I guess this is what you get when you follow the rules.

Sad A ggood case possibly for a harassment issue.


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