The Two Types of Age Discrimination

The Two Types of Age Discrimination

Discriminatory policies and harassing conduct are persistent issues in the United States. Only 12 states, not including Illinois, have an age-related hate crime enhancement. Furthermore, under federal law, employers may pay less than the minimum wage to individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by age, physical or mental deficiency, or injury. Advocacy groups, such as AARP, have not significantly changed this environment.

When age discrimination victims need advocates, they can always count on a Chicago age discrimination lawyer. This advocacy begins with a thorough case evaluation and ends with the most favorable resolution possible under the circumstances. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is supposed to prosecute these cases, is committed to a political agenda. An attorney, on the other hand, is committed to you.

Discriminatory Policies

Despite federal and state laws to the contrary, many companies have discriminatory policies. These policies could be direct (disparate treatment) or indirect (disparate impact). 

Assume XYZ Company never hires people over 40 for entry-level positions. That policy makes some sense. Workers over 40 often have issues submitting to younger supervisors, especially if these workers have experience in the industry. But this policy is also discriminatory.

If Frank does not get hired, to obtain compensation in court, his Chicago age discrimination lawyer must prove that age discrimination was the but-for cause, as opposed to the substantial cause. XYZ Company might have a defense if FRank didn’t immediately get along with his new supervisor or if Frank implied that he knew more about the industry than his supervisor.

Indirect discrimination is a policy that disproportionately affects people in a protected class. Assume XYZ switches its health plan to one that charges higher deductibles and copays for colon cancer and other maladies that mostly affect older workers. Everyone must pay the higher premiums, but the increase disproportionately affects older workers.

Some discriminatory policy claims have nothing to do with the policy or its discriminatory effect. If Frank complains about a policy or encourages someone else to file a complaint, and XYZ takes adverse action against him, Frank might have a retaliation claim. Most EEOC claims are retaliation claims. These matters are easier to prove, especially in the age discrimination context. 

Harassing Conduct

Under state and federal laws, employers also have a legal duty to provide environments that allow employees to do their jobs. 

Playful banter is very common in workplaces. Bosses usually tolerate such behavior, usually because it’s good for morale. But at some point, such behavior crosses a line.

Assume younger XYZ workers often call older workers names like gaffer, crone, and codger. One or two such incidents are not illegal. More incidents than that might cross the aforementioned line, especially if the harassment is bad enough that reasonable people would be offended and unable to concentrate fully on their work.

Frequently, such harassment leads to constructive termination. The boss did not technically fire the worker for a discriminatory reason, but that is not the way the law views the situation.

Employers also have a duty to address third-party harassment, like customer harassment, if the employer knows about such harassment and is in a position to do something about it.

Contact a Tough-Minded Cook County Attorney

Job bias victims have legal options in Illinois. For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago age discrimination attorney, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.