Include ageism in your discrimination and hostile work environment training. And for goodness sake, remind bosses not to refer to older workers as “old man” or “old woman.”
Recent case: Arnold worked for Crossroads Ford for several years, eventually becoming a manager. Then, when he approached his 60th birthday, his supervisor began referring to him as “the old man” and kidding him about not hearing the phone ring. Shortly after, the supervisor demoted Arnold and replaced him with a much younger man. Finally, he fired Arnold for privately selling a car.
Arnold sued under North Carolina’s Equal Employment Practices Act.
The trial court dismissed the case, but now the North Carolina Court of Appeals has reinstated the lawsuit. It reasoned that the name-calling and other ageist behavior was discrimination evidence. (Johnson v. Crossroads Ford, No. COA13-173, Court of Appeals of North Carolina, 2013)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Add civility code to prevent avoidable lawsuits
- Hey, boss, you better call HR! Warn managers against trying to resolve complaints informally
- Establish clear performance expectations so courts can judge if employee was meeting them
- Waiter serves suit implicating female boss; courts are digesting it