Get the edge on age discrimination lawsuits

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

‘Age before beauty…’

Considering the aging of the U.S. workforce, many firms face an ever-expanding number of employees in a protected age group – and, therefore, increased legal liability to age discrimination suits.

In fact, for the first time in more than 20 years, the number of age-bias complaints filed by federal employees exceeded the number filed by those claiming they were discriminated against because they were black.

That’s according to the EEOC’s 2003 Annual Report.

One key factor for the rise in age discrimination suits, says the EEOC, is the aging of the federal workforce.

And of course the feds aren’t alone: The entire U.S. workforce is aging.

That’s why proactive HR departments are taking steps to reduce age discrimination lawsuits.

Effective tactics:
· Discourage wisecracks having anything to do with age. Comments such as “After you. Age before beauty,” and “We need fresh, new blood around here,” has surfaced as incriminating evidence in a number of age discrimination lawsuits.
· Document the business reason for refusing to interview an applicant. Many age discrimination lawsuits are filed by disgruntled applicants over the age of 40. Keep resumes on file along with documentation showing why you denied a request for an interview.
· Monitor adverse decisions for patterns of age bias. Not all bias is malicious or even intentional. You may have managers who discriminate against older employees unconsciously.
· Review the company’s age discrimination policies and ensure that everyone is aware of the legal consequences of making an adverse decision based on someone’s age.

When managers fire, refuse to promote, discipline or decline to hire individuals age 40 and up based on stereotypes about age, they expose the company to a fast-growing class of age discrimination lawsuits.


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