Casual business conversations can come back to haunt you if some comments imply that you could save money without so many long-term employees.
Recent case: James Hovanas, a pilot for American Eagle Airlines, was among several employees who lost their jobs. He was over age 40 and sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
As evidence, Hovanas noted that a consultant had told managers that “the seniority of American Eagle’s pilots detracted from American Eagle’s industry competitiveness.” Hovanas argued this was evidence that the airline had a financial motive to cut older pilots.
The court said the comment was admissible. (Hovanas, et al., v. American Eagle Airlines, No. 3:09-CV-0209, ND TX, 2010)
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- Don't deny ADA accommodation due to 'potential' seniority break
- Juries punish rushed investigations; keep an open mind
- Need incentive to brush up anti-discrimination policy? Here it is