Barnes & Noble has requested a jury trial in the age discrimination lawsuit filed by Barbara Tavres in the US District Court in Northern California. Tavres was fired on September 6, 2019 after a career that began in 2006, and claimed Barnes & Noble fired her because of her age, and also used policies, practices, and procedures which disproportionately affected employees age 40 and older. She seeks class action status. In their response, B&N says she was fired for cause: “Plaintiff’s performance reviews speak for themselves.” They say there is no basis for a class action, and that “all employment actions taken with respect to plaintiff and the putative class were not based on any discriminatory motive or in retaliation for any activity engaged in by plaintiff or proposed class members, or based on any other improper or illegal consideration,” but were based on “one or more legitimate, sufficient, nondiscriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons.” They further said her allegations were “argumentative and speculative” and that “to the extent alleged as fact, Defendant denies each and every allegation” in the suit.
Barnes & Noble has been working to clear out inventory, with big post-holiday sales of titles still available in quantity. Overall, CEO James Daunt hopes to “reduce our inventory by 25%, but increase our title range by about 25%.” Going forward, they plan to carry fewer copies of many titles, but have a bigger variety of titles on the shelves, with quicker turnover to avoid holding onto titles that don’t sell, and faster replenishment when they do. Publishers have expressed some concerns, expecting more returns, fewer big orders, and a need to have extra inventory to help B&N restock when needed – but it’s still seen as a good move, if the new management can pull it off, since B&N has had trouble with replenishment in the past.
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