Firing those with obsolete skills isn’t age bias

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

In today’s tough economy, it’s sometimes necessary to terminate em­­ployees. That may be especially true when new technology makes it easier to perform some tasks, reducing the need for employees.

Recent case: When three older manual mold makers were terminated because new computerized equipment greatly improved pro­­­­ductivity, they sued, alleging age bias.

They argued that younger workers—who had experience on the newer processes because they were hired when the company introduced the technology—were not terminated.

The court tossed out the case. It reasoned that the three were picked because their skills were no longer needed. (Rahlf, et al., v. Mo-Tech, No. 10-1113, 8th Cir., 2011)

Final note: Of course, make sure that when you offer training, you offer it to older workers, too. Cutting older workers out of training programs may be age discrimination.

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