“OK Boomer?” HR law to the rescue!

1) Under federal employment discrimination law, employers face higher risk of liability if they fail to take action against stray workplace comments that are derogatory toward protected groups.

2) There is no exception for comments derogatory toward older persons.

3) People will now get warned, disciplined, or fired for saying “OK Boomer.”

Welcome to the House That Social Justice Built!

P.S. To make things clear, whatever lawsuits are at issue are unlikely to be aimed at whoever made the remark, but instead at the employer, which is after all the party with money worth going after. Most likely, claims of boomer insults, overheard or direct, will be used as additional leverage to raise the buyout/payoff level of departing older executives. That is why the employer, in its self-interest, has a reason to suppress such comments before they start. (The tweet above is by a seasoned management-side employment attorney.)

Age discrimination is already by some measures the most successful branch of employment discrimination law for plaintiffs, and it pays off especially in the case of high earners, that is to say persons of middle management rank and above, mostly affluent white males. They can afford to hire good lawyers, the sort who can afford to probe and trawl a large record for age-related remarks. [More: Robin Shea]

10 Comments

  • Yea, blah, blah, blah, Millennial…

    • One day that too will be ageist.

  • Seriously? The entire thought behind the remark is that boomers make the decisions and are behind the times. They are the ones hiring and firing. Are there lots of millennials firing boomers? I think not.

    • Apparently you don’t work at IBM.

  • It’s outrageous that this kind of “protection” exists for ANY group. How do we sue to get our civil rights back?

  • As one born in the leading year of the Boomers (May 1946), I thought “OK Boomer” was ironically funny. Where and when did we collectively lose our sense of humor?

  • Good! I can’t wait to sue the pants off anyone who mocks me in the workplace because of my extra years.

    I discovered that if I report someone for “harassment” on Twitter for sending me a direct message (with @ ) that says “OK BOOMER” Twitter won’t act. They will take action against other slurs (for religion, etc.)

  • Context is important, but it comes down to simply being respectful to all employees. So age-related comments are not acceptable, just as it is not acceptable to call a woman “Honey.” It is a dismissive comment that does not belong in a workplace discussion.

  • Lo and Hosanna, like the eagle before me I have achieved protected status. I will stand straight. An army of bureaucrats will attend me. My attorneys will devour my oppressors. Surely richness and deference will bless me until the final tort, and I will pass gracefully and deeply mourned.

  • Of all the anti-discrimination laes, ADEA and IDEA are the two most in repeal (With ADAAA 2008 close behind) since they make illegal discrimination that should happen.

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