June 07, 2022

Hiring Manager Gets a Shout Out in Age Discrimination Suit

A hiring manager was referenced by the U.S. EEOC in its recent announcement regarding a lawsuit the agency filed.  But not in a good way. A 62-year-old employee applied for a lateral transfer to another position closer to her home.  A 33-year-old applicant who lived in another state and had less experience was hired for the position.  The hiring manager’s explanation was, “he wanted someone who would be in the position ‘long-term’.” Oops.

The EEOC found the hiring manager violated not only federal law but the company’s own anti-dis­crimination policy.  The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) covers employers with 20 or more employees and prohibits discrimination in employment against individuals age 40 or above.

Lessons learned? Train your managers!  The EEOC reminds us, “The unfounded stereotype that older workers are…less committed to an organization’s long-term goals and strategy should play no role in employment decisions.” Hiring decisions should be based solely on factors that are job-related and consistent with business necessity.

In 2021, AARP reported that nearly 80% of “older” employees surveyed said they had witnessed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. The issue has attracted Congress’ attention with consideration of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.

To learn more, check out May’s archived webcast, “We’re Not Getting Any Younger: Age Discrimination in Today’s Workplace.” $25 pp. Still provides 1.25 HRCI and SHRM credits.