Cynthia Loo, the former president of Wilshire Associates' analytics division, is suing Wilshire Associates and its founder, Chairman and CEO Dennis A. Tito, saying she was dismissed last month because Mr. Tito decided she was too old.
The Oct. 4 lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, said Ms. Loo, who said she is older than 55 in the complaint, was told by Mr. Tito, who is 76, that she “was too old, that he was going to replace her and wanted her to retire from Wilshire.”
Ms. Loo was also a member of Wilshire's board of directors, and according to the lawsuit, its longest tenured employee besides Mr. Tito, having joined the firm in 1981. The suit also alleges discrimination based on Ms. Woo's gender and race. She is Asian.
The lawsuit said Mr. Tito told her on Aug. 4 that, “I'll send you to China,” if she did not meet Mr. Tito's expectations. The suit also said Ms. Loo was the only non-Caucasian and woman on the board of directors and among Wilshire's top management.
A Wilshire spokeswoman said in an e-mail: “the claims in this case are without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.”
“There is no question that Wilshire's termination of Loo was unlawfully motivated by age, gender and race discrimination, as well as by unlawful retaliation,” the lawsuit said. “Indeed, it is difficult to find a case in the post-Jim Crow era in which undisputed facts so egregiously smack of such discrimination.”
The suit said despite Ms. Loo successfully revamping Wilshire's analytic system earlier in 2016, Mr. Tito set out to “humiliate her” at an Aug. 30 meeting.
“Remarkably, on that occasion Tito stated publicly and repeatedly that the team of which Loo was a part was 'too old.'”
Mr. Tito continued with a “rant, in which no age-based discriminatory stereotype or remark was skipped,” Ms. Loo said in the suit.
The suit seeks punitive, compensatory and other allowable damages.
Russell F. Wolpert, Ms. Loo's attorney, said in a statement: “We have not yet specified a specific dollar amount, but a number of recent California employment-based discrimination or harassment cases have resolved in the several million-dollar range — some higher.
“However, this situation is unique for a variety of reasons, especially because Ms. Loo was at the highest level of the enterprise (a president and even a board of director member), and no executive except for Dennis Tito himself had her tenure of employment at Wilshire — more than a third of a century.”