Michael Lawson filed an age discrimination suit against his former employer in federal court Jan. 22 claiming he was fired from Novell Inc., despite being ranked as a top salesman.

According to the complaint, Lawson, a business partner executive, was three weeks shy of his 64th birthday when he was terminated on Feb. 2, 2005.

He claims that during his tenure at Novell he set sales records and exceeded every performance goal that was mandated and at the time of his termination he was ranked third among all the North American Business Partner Executives.

"Novell never warned Lawson of impending termination or job performance that was below expectations," the complaint states.

Lawson claims he was replaced by someone less qualified and at least 20 years to his junior.

He also claims younger Business Partner Executives were not fired despite not performing at the level he accomplished.

"Defendant's actions were willful and liquidated damages are warranted," the complaint states.

Represented by Paul Evans of O'Fallon, Lawson is seeking a judgment for lost wages, front pay, attorneys fees and costs of the suit in an amount to be determined at trial.

The case has been assigned to District Judge David Herndon.

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