In previous decades, the age of a worker equated to experience and employees age 40 and older were typically highly regarded and well compensated. In recent years, economic troubles coupled with a growing reliance on new technologies, has resulted in many companies favoring young and hungry college graduates who will work for entry-level pay and are often more tech savvy.
A former middle-aged manager recently filed a lawsuit against the big box retailer Walmart from which he was fired in 2011. In the lawsuit, the man accuses a store supervisor of discriminating against him because of his age and describes comments related to the harassment and bullying.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit on the man's behalf related to allegations the store supervisor called the manager disparaging names such as "old man" and "old food guy". Fed up with the discriminatory comments and insinuations, the man reported the supervisor to Walmart's human resources department. However, despite his complaints, the workplace discrimination and bullying continued and the man contends he was eventually fired because of his age.
All employees have the right to work in a workplace that is free of discrimination, harassment and bullying. Employers who fail to provide for employees' physical and mental health and wellbeing may be subject to legal action. While widespread, cases of age discrimination can be difficult to prove. Workers over the age of 40 who suspect they are the victim of age discrimination would be wise to document any discriminatory comments or actions and discuss their case with an employment attorney.
Source: AARP.org, "Wal-Mart Charged With Age Discrimination," Lisa McElroy, March 28, 2014