Have you ever watched Don Draper pinch a secretary as she walked past? Or maybe comedy is more your thing. Michael Scott was notorious for practices that would make most HR departments cringe, from ageist statements to games based on racial stereotypes. While this may make for entertaining television, when discrimination rears its head in the workplace, the results are far from funny.
It happens more often than we’d like to think, and for a multitude of reasons: age, sex, orientation, race, and disability. In recent years, discrimination cases have caught the attention of the media, so much so that companies are having trouble ignoring the issue. Even businesses that are exonerated of wrongdoing in court may still suffer from a tarnished reputation in the court of public opinion. Awareness of this matter has forced companies into action, and many are opting to overhaul their pay, hiring, and overall discrimination policies.
Age Discrimination Goes High Tech
The media has drawn a lot of attention to big companies accused of discriminating against employees and potential employees by their age. Various tech companies go to court for age discrimination. Others have been called out by critics for their recruitment tactics, which seem to focus exclusively on young employees. It’s true that tech companies are filled with young workers and Millennials dominate places like Silicon Valley. But could this be traced back to discriminatory practices in recruitment for those jobs?
One such example of age discrimination is if a company is posting a job description exclusive to new grads. While they may not have mentioned an age in the ad, employment authorities argue that these ads should be considered illegal discrimination. Let’s look at a few specific cases of recent age discrimination lawsuits.
Google and Hewlett- Packard Face Age Discrimination Lawsuits
A great example is a recent lawsuit with Google. Google was sued for age discrimination by two people (both over 40) who had been turned down after applying for jobs. The lawsuit alleges Google “engaged in a systematic pattern” of discrimination. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has received multiple complaints about age discrimination against Google, and so an extensive investigation is underway. A decision by the court on this motion is months away, but this is shaping up to be a huge ruling in a potentially precedent-setting case that could change discrimination laws around the country.
Another company that has the media’s attention is Hewlett-Packard. A lawsuit was filed against them last week by a San Diego man who accuses them of widespread age discrimination that cost him his job. A workforce reduction plan led to the company laying off 2,076 employees, 85% of them being over 40. This lawsuit from just a few days ago adds to a growing list of litigation alleging age discrimination at tech companies throughout the country.
What are the Age Discrimination Laws in New York?
As a New York attorney, it is our job to understand the local laws. Federal, New York State, and New York City laws make age discrimination by employers illegal. Federal law protects many workers that are over 40 who apply for or work for a company from being discriminated against based on their age.
Are you living in New York and may be facing age discrimination? Let’s look at some of the examples of possible discrimination:
- Your company is downsizing, and the majority of employees being laid off are 40 or over.
- You are laid off and replaced with a younger person despite your excellent work performance.
- You are passed over for a promotion, which is given to a less qualified younger person.
- Your boss does not allow older workers to attend certain meetings or trainings.
- Before getting fired, you hear managers talking about going for a more youthful image or similar statements.
- You apply for a job and learn that you did not get it because of your senior appearance or age.
- Valuable accounts or clients are given to younger employees.
If you feel like you’ve been the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. Call us now and we’ll evaluate your case with a free consultation. Our team has successfully spent hundreds of hours in the courtroom to protect the rights of our clients.