Monday, November 10, 2008

Aging Workforce Increasing Age Discrimination Cases

Those employers with older (older being age 40 and over) employees need to read's With an Aging Workforce, a Rising Risk of Discrimination Claims:

"With an economy that seems to be moving toward recession, the likelihood of litigation based on age discrimination claims is exacerbated. Many workers have seen their savings and retirement accounts take significant hits, thanks to a weakened stock market. The slumping real estate market compounds the problem. Equity that otherwise could be used for retirement is not available. Family homes sit with 'for sale' signs in the yard, and many people are strapped with multiple mortgages. All these factors increase the likelihood that baby boomers will look to the courts if they are terminated, no matter what the actual reason might have been.

The challenge for companies, then, is creating a structured employment environment that lessens the likelihood and potential severity of discrimination claims. Companies should:


Set expectations: In dealing with all levels and generations of employees, the first mandate is to clearly and repeatedly communicate the objective expectations of all positions. The playing field has to be even. Employees cannot reasonably be expected to meet the responsibilities of their positions if at the time of hire they do not clearly understand their ongoing targets and a defined set of boundaries in terms of reporting relationships and roles.