Be careful about the appearance of age discrimination

by on December 15, 2008 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

More Age Discrimination in Hiring Claims

With an aging baby-boomer population and a glut of workers, applicants over the age of 40 may be highly sensitive to perceived age discrimination.

After all, “They didn’t hire me because they think I’m too old” sounds better than “They didn’t want me because I’m not qualified.”

According to a recent ExecuNet survey on age discrimination, 65% of respondents said they believed they’d encountered age discrimination in a job search – up from 58% in 2001.

And 94% felt that their age had resulted in their being eliminated from contention for a particular position.

With survey results like those, HR should be hypervigilant about hiring managers who make any age-related comments that could be misconstrued by job applicants.

Source: ExecuNet.

Retire your age bias not your people

Before insisting on a mandatory retirement age, employers had better review the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) thoroughly and consult with their attorneys. Here’s a case where an employer didn’t – and it paid the price.

After 45 years of stellar service, a loan officer at a bank was told, “A decision has been made for you to retire.”

The employee didn’t want to retire nor could she afford to. She complained to the EEOC, which filed a lawsuit against the bank.

The lawsuit was settled before the case went to court. The bank agreed to pay the loan officer $71,000 and initiate a corporate anti-discrimination training and communication program.

Cite: EEOC v. First National Bank of McGregor

Record-setting age discrimination settlement

Big Brother is watching how you calculate benefits. Are you practicing discriminatory math?

California’s public pension fund agreed to pay an estimated $250 million to settle an age discrimination case with the EEOC – the largest settlement in the commission’s history.

At issue was how the fund calculated disability benefits for employees who were injured on the job and could no longer work. The formula was based on a 1980 state law that gave fewer benefits to workers who were hired after age 30 than to those who were hired earlier.

A group of injured workers charged that the system discriminated based on age. After a long legal battle, the fund agreed to stop using the formula, pay $50 million in back pay to 1,700 injured workers and increase their benefits in the future

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