A recent lawsuit taught managers what not to say as the EEOC showed, once again, that a small comment can end up costing an employer big.
Diverse Lynx, an IT staffing firm in Princeton, NJ, was slapped with an age discrimination suit after rejecting a older applicant.
‘Age will matter’
According to the EEOC, after learning how old a job applicant was, the company emailed him saying he would no longer be considered for the position because he was born in 1945. The email said “age will matter.”
This is a clear violation of the ADEA, the agency said.
EEOC senior trial attorney Rosemary DiSavino said the following:
“A basic principle of anti-discrimination law requires that job applicants be judged on their individual qualifications. Employers that consider an applicant’s protected trait, such as age, violate federal laws and will be prosecuted.”
Payout, consent decree
Diverse Lynx agreed to settle the lawsuit for $50,000. But the payout isn’t the only consequence of those three words. The company also agreed to a consent decree, which means some major changes for them.
Diverse Lynx can no longer request an applicant’s age during the hiring process. It must also conduct training for employees and managers that addresses federal anti-discrimination laws, and complaint and reporting procedures. Lastly, Diverse Lynx has agreed it will not retaliate against anyone who reports discriminatory practices.
Bottom line, this employer could’ve avoided the lawsuit and major payout if it hadn’t indicated to the applicant that his age was the reason for his rejection.