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'Cops' Sued by Ex-Employee

You Fired Me 'Cause

I'm No Spring Chicken

10/1/2012 3:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0928-john-langley-cops-gettyThe producers behind "Cops"are being sued by a bitter ex-employee ... who claims he was fired for being TOO OLD ... after 22 years of faithful service. 

Steven W. Kiger filed a lawsuit against John Langley's production company ... claiming he worked on the hit TV show for two decades, working his way up to Associate Producer and a $95k-a-year salary, but was unfairly canned in 2010.

In the suit, Kiger believes he was axed because he was over 40 and the show was "purposely ridding itself of older workers" so they could bring in much younger guys.

As proof, he claims an email was sent around by an executive on the show stating, "We look for guys who are hungry, who will work for less $$$."

Kiger is suing for unspecified damages resulting from loss of earnings, emotional distress, anxiety, worry and humiliation.

Calls to Langley have not been returned.

A judge has yet to rule.

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