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Mylan sued for age, disability, discrimination

Man claims he was fired after being pressured to retire

A former Mylan employee claims he was set up for failure and fired because of his age and physical disability after resisting attempts to force his retirement for two years.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court on Friday, Kenneth Zara was 62 when he was fired in January 2019 and his position was likely taken over by a man who was about 40.

The pressure to retire started not long after Zara turned 60, according to the suit.

After turning 60, Zara’s supervisor called him into his office to talk about the fact that Zara had been off work because of degenerative arthritis in his back. The supervisor told him he wasn’t as young as he used to be, raised the subject of his injury and the time off it caused, said he missed more work than he used to and suggested Zara take a “packer job.”

That job would be a step down in both pay and status, according to the suit. Zara was hired by Mylan in 2007 as a “blender” in the “granulation department” and was promoted to “fluid bed department coordinator in the granulation department” by 2013 until he was fired.

Zara told his supervisor he could still do his job, couldn’t afford the pay cut of the lesser job and if the conversation about a job change or retirement was going to continue he wanted a union steward present.

A few weeks later, Mike Fisco, a defendant with Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Viatris Inc., called Zara into his office. Frisco was the manager over the entire fluid bed department.

Frisco repeated the same things Zara’s supervisor did, suggesting he retire or take a less physical demanding position, the suit states.Within weeks of the meetings, both of which happened in 2016, Zara was given essentially double duty, carrying out his job and those normally carried out by operator or “utility D” positions.

Zara complained about the unfair treatment but nothing was done. The suit states Zara expressed concern that he hadn’t received the proper training for his additional duties in about six years and he didn’t know the current standard operating procedures.

After about two years of the double duty, on Jan. 11, 2020, Zara was told to do a job normally done by a utility D worker that requires specific training which Zara had not received in years.

While doing that task, Zara made a mistake – pouring the contents of a waste drum in the wrong drain – and after learning Mylan was looking into the mixing of alcohol and acetone, he came forward, the suit states.

Zara was suspended for an investigation and fired on Jan 22. “Mylan management then had the purported ‘mistake’ that they could use to fire Mr. Zara after Mr. Zara had resisted management’s pressure to retire,” the suit states. “The purported mistake was a pretext for unlawful discriminatory action based on Mr. Zara’s age and disability.”

Viatris – the company formed in the merger of Mylan and Upjohn – did not return a call seeking comment in time for this report.