Supervisors should avoid any age-related references, but don’t despair if you learn someone made such a comment—as long as nothing else points to age discrimination. Simply warn the boss to watch what he or she says in the future.
Recent case: Daniel lost his banking job during a reduction in force. He sued, alleging the real reason for his termination was age discrimination. He claimed his boss had quipped during an earlier reorganization that a younger banker was necessary.
The court tossed out the case after noting that the supervisor was himself a decade older than Daniel and had hired him. Plus, the “younger” banker was almost as old as Daniel.
The court said one comment wasn’t proof of age discrimination. (Graves v. Deutsche Bank Securities, No. 12-5082, 2nd Cir., 2013)
- Use good notes to shoot down retaliation suits
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- Understand how whistle-blower laws affect employers, employees
- If employee refuses to cooperate with investigation, feel free to fire