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Be on guard for age discrimination suit if older worker offers to work for less

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Older employees who learn they might be laid off for economic reasons—especially those who have recently spoken with an employment lawyer—have begun trying an interesting tactic: They’re volunteering to work for less pay.

Take those offers seriously.

If you turn those employees down and replace them with younger employees who get paid more, watch out for age discrimination lawsuits. It only makes matters worse if there is a big age difference between the terminated employee and the replacement.

Recent case:
George Carras, who was in his early 60s, worked as the chief financial officer for a shoe importing business. When management said it was terminating him because of financial pressures, he offered to take a steep cut in pay, down to $60,000. The company rejected his offer and laid him off.

Then Carras found out that his younger replacement was making more than $60,000. When he sued for age discrimination, he told the court it was obvious that economics really hadn’t been the true reason for his termination. The trial court dismissed his case, but Carras appealed.

Now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated the lawsuit and Carras will get a chance to persuade a jury that his former employer fired him because of his age and not because the company was having financial troubles. (Carras v. MGS 728 Lex, No. 07-4480, 2nd Cir., 2008)

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