A 60-year-old man claims in a lawsuit that his supervisor at STMicroelectronics, Inc. made remarks that could be considered ageism. The man said that his supervisor said that the ideal candidate for a job that he was interested in applying for wouldn't have enough experience to be inflexible in the position. In 2008, the plaintiff had held the same position that he was interested in applying for in 2013.
While most companies understand that they can't directly tell older workers not to apply for jobs, they have other ways to discourage them from applying. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), ageism is an issue that they will take a closer look at. One poll found that about two-thirds of workers between the age of 45 and 74 have experienced or seen age discrimination at work. It is said to be an open secret that this occurs at workplaces both large and small.
A small staffing agency was fined $50,000 after telling an applicant that age mattered. In the case involving the STM employee, the job was eventually awarded to a 36-year-old. A judge did not dismiss the man's lawsuit as the remarks made to the older worker could be reasonably construed by a juror as being related that person's age.
If a worker is denied a workplace opportunity because he or she was deemed to be too old, that could constitute employment discrimination. An employer could be subject to fines as well as providing compensation to a worker. Compensation could include punitive damages as well as lost income if an employee was wrongfully terminated because of his or her age. An attorney may review management statements and personnel records to determine if ageism played a role in how an employee was treated.