BUFFALO, NY -Dave Hojnowski is 54-years old. Around theBuffalo Bills organization, players and staff call him Hojo. After more than 35-years with the NFL team, the former Equipment Manager was let go, but he says he was fired because of his age. Now he has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the team.
According to Hojnowski's attorney, "it was Mr. (Buddy) Nix who terminated him, saying that the company was going in a different direction." Attorney Andrew Fleming says the firing happened right before his client would qualify for the NFL group medical plan retirement benefit. "He was called in and fired about a week after his wife made an inquiry about the Bills long-term retiree health benefit," said Fleming. "What we are contending is that it is not coincidental. We're contending that it was intentional."
Fleming told 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing, "you can't discriminate against someone because of where they stand with respect to a benefit. You may not take one's age into account when you are making employment-related decisions about them. You can take into account if they are physically unable to do the work."
Hojnowski,a North Tonawanda native, has been a fixture with the team. NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly mentioned "Hojo" in his of Fame induction speech.
The Civil Complaint alleges "Hojnowski was routinely called 'old guy," and that he wasn't given an updated cell phone because "it was inferred that Hojnowski wouldn't know how to use a smart phone because of his age."
The Buffalo Bills sent a statement saying "we will not offer a comment regarding this lawsuit while the legal process is ongoing."