- Shell Oil Co. faces an age discrimination lawsuit brought forth by a man whose job candidacy was the center of a previous legal battle involving Shell earlier this year, the Houston Chronicle reports.
- In early 2017, Crockett Oaks III, Shell's former head of U.S. security, sued the company for firing him when he selected 53-year-old Michael G. Oliveri, a qualified candidate with a military background, for a security advisor job. The lawsuit, which has since been settled, alleged that Oaks was directed to hire a young, female candidate instead of Oliveri, then later blocked his hiring and fired Oaks.
- Oliveri says he was denied a $114,000 job with bonuses and subsequently lost his contractor job with Shell. He is reportedly seeking damages for lost wages and legal fees.
Age discrimination is a violation of federal law and employers can face liability when they give preference to younger candidates because of their age.
HR's understanding of ageism must go beyond bullying and other forms of overt harassment (even though such problems do exist and should be taken seriously). Employers may not even realize that they may be discriminating against older workers just by including certain fields on a job application.
The key is to be mindful of unconscious biases when making hiring decisions and remember that seasoned candidates can often bring a great deal of knowledge and skill to a company.
As older workers continue to alter the common conception of retirement planning by re-entering the workforce, HR departments across industries will be forced to confront the problem of age discrimination head on.