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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Taking proactive steps to avoid age discrimination

Employers may not hire or fire employees because of their age. Employees applying for promotions may also not face decisions based primarily on age. As noted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals aged 40 and older.

A skilled and qualified employee passed up for a promotion because of his or her age could lead to a lawsuit. An employee may show that bias influenced the decision. The employer could have violated both federal and Colorado State labor laws. Effective guidelines and policies, however, help both employees and managers identify discrimination. Management may then correct an issue before it becomes serious.

Working in teams could help build a better workplace culture

Fast Company reports that fostering a strong and diverse workplace culture includes creating teams consisting of individuals from different generations. Regardless of their respective ages, team members could act as mentors for each other and produce better outcomes.

Teams may also require diversity training to help recognize age discrimination and harassment. Derogatory “jokes” or comments about an older employee not having the same technical skills as a younger individual could reflect wrongful behavior.

Creating zero-tolerance discrimination policies

By establishing a zero-tolerance policy covering discrimination, companies could help reduce employee turnover. Policy guidelines may, for example, note the negative effect of using words such as “grandpa” or “mother hen” to describe or address an older employee.

According to the AARP, coded words such as “high energy” or “digital native” used in recruiting imply a bias against older employees. Refraining from using such terms could help avoid age-related issues.

Employee lawsuits could take their toll on a company’s culture. They may also result in severe financial penalties. An employer may, however, take proactive steps to minimize the chances of a discrimination lawsuit.

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Bryan E. Kuhn, Counselor at Law, P.C.
1660 Lincoln Street Suite 2330
Denver, CO 80264

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