Staffing firm pays $50K for 'age will matter' comment
- A New Jersey-based IT staffing firm will pay $50,000 to settle an age discrimination suit claiming that it told a job applicant that he wouldn't be considered for an opening because he "was born in 1945" and that "age will matter."
- In rejecting the candidate because of his age, Diverse Lynx, LLC, violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protections workers 40 and older, according to the suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- In addition to the monetary settlement, Diverse Lynx agreed to no longer request applicants' birth years and provide staff with nondiscrimination training.
This case illustrates just how pervasive — and sometimes bold — age discrimination is in the workplace. The ADEA has been in place for 50 years and still, employers have trouble complying; EEOC says that's in part because age discrimination remains employment's "open secret" and is often viewed as more acceptable than other types of discrimination.
The EEOC has vowed to focus on age discrimination this year, even in this pro-business political atmosphere. And private litigants are increasingly calling into question long-standing employment practices, including campus recruiting. While the ADEA may not have been front of mind for many employers in recent years, it's certainly something that requires attention now.
Compliance with the ADEA, however, is just a starting point. Some employers are looking to add age to their diversity programs, for example, both adjusting their recruiting practices for a multi-generational labor pool and improving their inclusion and retention efforts.
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