Employment law violations such as sexual harassment and race discrimination have come to the forefront in California. However, other types of violations including age discrimination still occur. Those who have had their careers damaged or lost their jobs entirely because of discriminatory acts should be aware of how the legal system addresses these concerns.
A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court found that federal employees who were discriminated against due to age might have the right to seek compensation if it was not the only reason for the adverse action. A Department of Veterans Affairs pharmacist was that catalyst for the decision when the Chief Justice asked if the term “OK, boomer” could be considered age discrimination. Eight of the nine justices decided that the pharmacist should have the right to recover compensation due to a hostile work environment.
A critical point is that there must be proof that age was a foundational factor in the action. Simply showing their age resulted in unequal consideration will not be enough. The term “OK, boomer” was considered because it implies that the person is at an age where adapting to current requirements for most jobs may be difficult. In conversational lexicon, it is viewed as a sharp-edged joke. When in a work situation, it may contribute to discrimination based on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, passed in 1967.
Discrimination of any kind can be harmful. People whose employment circumstances were damaged by age discrimination and other violations of employment law should be cognizant of their rights. Since a combination of issues may be needed to file a claim, it may be wise to discuss the case with an experienced legal professional to determine whether there is a case and what steps to take to pursue it.