Not long ago this Tennessee legal blog discussed the ever-present problem of age discrimination in American workplaces. Unlike in other cultures, where older individuals are valued for their knowledge and experience, in the United States older workers are often looked at as liabilities and relics of a previous time. Not long ago a 70-year-old man was fired from a company where he had worked for 50 years.
The man began working for the toy maker, Mattel, in 1968. Over time he rose through the ranks to a supervisor position. In the years before his termination the company began laying off employees, and noticeably many older employees. In 2018, the man was informed that co-workers had alleged that he had sexually harassed them.
The man denied the claims and eventually a representative for the company conceded that the man’s co-workers had claimed only to be uncomfortable around him. He was then informed that he would be laid off. He had just turned 70 years old.
The man has filed a lawsuit against his employer based on age discrimination and the loss of his job. Under federal law, certain employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers who are over the age of 40 years old and may not fire, fail to promote or take other adverse employment action against them because of their ages. The outcome of this case will depend on many factors, and the plaintiff will have to demonstrate that he suffered harm as a result of the discrimination he perceived from his employer. Any questions that readers may have about this or other employment law matters should be directed to local employment law attorneys.