"Ok boomer" is undeniably age-related comment inconsistent with #ADEA. Make clear unacceptable. If employee does not listen, take prompt and proportionate corrective action. #age #HR https://t.co/zNnHOTL0EX
— Jonathan A Segal (@Jonathan_HR_Law) November 5, 2019
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]