Employees who claim they have experienced age discrimination must prove that age was the reason for an adverse employment action, such as termination or demotion. It’s not enough to show that a supervisor merely referred to the employee’s age.
As the following case shows, merely suggesting retirement in lieu of discharge isn’t enough.
Recent case: Thomas Smith directed recreational programs for a municipality and was over age 40. He also had a history of deficient performance and was on a performance improvement plan when the city elected a new mayor.
The mayor reviewed Smith’s performance history and concluded he didn’t have the talent to lead the recreation department. He told Smith that he had a choice: retire or face termination. The mayor gave Smith the option of staying on until he reached age 55.
Smith did retire and then sued, alleging age discrimination.
But he could offer no evidence that his age was the reason for his termination other than the mayor’s suggestion that Smith retire. In fact, the court pointed out that deferring his termination to age 55 actually was beneficial since it meant a bigger retirement check. The court tossed out the case. (Smith v. Allentown, No. 09-1998, 3rd Cir., 2009)
Final note: Of course, you still want to discourage ageism. There’s no legitimate reason for supervisors or managers to dwell on the age of employees. Focus instead on objective performance measures.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/11035/ok-to-suggest-retiring-in-lieu-of-getting-fired-its-not-age-discrimination "
- Minnetonka banker beats arson rap, settles harassment lawsuit
- Required: Investigating all harassment complaints Not required: Providing a perfect workplace
- Document your consistently fair practices
- HR investigations must go beyond supervisor suggestions
- 8 steps to being an effective witness in court, depositions