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)
- Is there a way to ensure sensitive investigation records remain confidential?
- Taming the shrews: How to turn around troublesome people
- Tell supervisors: No paybacks for reporting harassment
- Not everyone wears a halo: Courts don't expect perfect work environment
- Have the supervisor or manager who did the hiring be the one to handle the firing