UPDATE: May 25, 2021: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not comment on pending litigation, a spokesperson told HR Dive in an email.
- A former employee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sued the federal agency, alleging it discriminated against him by relocating him, diminishing his duties and failing to provide him with reasonable accommodations in light of his disabilities (Craddock v. Becerra, No. 1:21-cv-02069 (N.D. Ga. May 16, 2021)).
- The suit alleges that the former employee, who worked as a lead safety and occupational manager, "was discriminated against in favor of white people, and women." It also alleges that CDC favored people under age 40 and people without disabilities over the former employee in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, respectively.
- The former employee also "received adverse employment actions because he spoke out against the racism, sexism, ageism and disability discrimination practiced by the CDC generally — apart from his own victimhood," per the suit. CDC did not immediately respond to an HR Dive request for comment.
Ageism remains a complex topic in employment circles. Last year, AARP published a report in which it said ageism at work is the "last acceptable bias in America," while illegal age discrimination is "widespread."
Biases against older workers persist in hiring, on-the-job situations as well as termination decisions, AARP said in the report. The organization is not alone in its criticism of anti-age discrimination enforcement in the U.S. Commentators have previously noted that, even 50 years after the passage of the ADEA, ageism issues may go overlooked or unnoticed in the workplace. The law's protections also may be limited in some cases; a 2019 ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the ADEA's disparate impact protections do not apply to external job applicants.
Retaliation is a common form of discrimination claim, and employers may need to implement policies that specifically prohibit managers from retaliating against workers and encourage employees to bring complaints forward.
Particularly in a remote work environment, HR teams and managers may encounter instances of harassment that result from a lack of policies around working from home, sources previously told HR Dive. Legal experts generally recommend thorough documentation and investigation practices when addressing complaints.