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)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Don't fear shifting to 'Get-Tough' reviews, but be consistent
- Georgia Tech helps employers design ADA accommodations
- Follow 3 rules of pre-hire medical tests: Timing, privacy, job descriptions
- Prepare to show you were fair if disabled workers take a hit during RIF