DENVER -- The former manager of Safeway's division here has filed a lawsuit charging the Oakland, Calif.-based chain with age discrimination.
Robert D. Greene, 53, a 36-year Safeway veteran, was relieved of his position last June, according to the lawsuit, so Safeway could avoid paying him $180,000 or more a year under an executive retirement plan. The retirement plan becomes effective when an executive retires after turning 55 years old.
Greene, who was a senior vice president of retail, could not be reached for comment last week. He had headed the chain's 110-store Denver division for more than seven years. Greene's suit, filed in U.S. District Court here, accuses Steve Burd, Safeway's president and chief executive officer, of a "consistent . . . pattern of relieving older management and replacing them with younger employees."
Burd was named president of Safeway in late 1992 and chief executive officer early last year. He declined to comment on the lawsuit following last week's annual meeting.
Greene, according to the suit, said Safeway injured his reputation. He alleged "upper management at Safeway made false statements to the effect that [Greene] was a poor salesman, had a pessimistic and uncompetitive attitude and unfairly intimidated his subordinates."