‘Apprentice’ Reject Who Claimed Age Discrimination Settles Lawsuit

A 51-year-old man who claimed he never had the chance to hear “You’re fired” on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” because he was too old has settled a lawsuit against the real estate mogul.

A federal judge in U.S. District Court in Boston dismissed the age discrimination lawsuit Monday at the request of R. Joseph Hewett, who was 49 when he was turned down by the NBC reality show in July 2005.

“I have reached a settlement but I am prohibited from speaking about it other than to say it’s satisfactory to all parties,” Hewett, of Hampstead, N.H., said when reached by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The lawsuit wasn’t about money, he said.

“This was never about a disgruntled applicant trying to get back at (Trump’s) organization, it just gave me an opportunity to advocate on behalf of a protected class,” he said. “This was about the fact that I believe an entire class was aggrieved.”

“The Apprentice,” which was left off NBC’s 2007-2008 prime-time schedule, pitted eager would-be executives against each other in cutthroat competition for a job with one of his companies. Trump eliminated contestants at the end of each episode with the words “You’re fired!”

Hewett alleged in his lawsuit, filed in January, that Trump, his companies and associated producers were in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and that only two of the finalists in the first six seasons were over the age of 40.

The defendants named in the lawsuit were Trump, the Trump Organization Inc., Trump Productions LLC, producer Mark Burnett, Mark Burnett Productions Inc. and three affiliated California companies. NBC wasn’t named.

A Trump spokesman denied age discrimination when the lawsuit was filed, saying very few applicants for the show were over 40 and noting that Trump had actively sought “all age groups.”

The spokesman didn’t immediately return a telephone call and e-mail Tuesday.

Hewett, who grew up in Lawrence and describes himself as a technology manager at a commercial real estate company, claimed he was qualified for the show because he graduated magna cum laude from college and because of his “many years of experience maintaining large commercial properties.”