According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the most frequently alleged charges by the federal work force in 2010 were retaliation (7,712) charges. And, for the past five fiscal years, the EEOC has seen an upward trend in complaints alleging both retaliation and age discrimination.
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) applies to employers with 20 or more employees and protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his or her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including job assignments.
The ADEA forbids harassment of a person because of his or her age. Age harassment that is frequent or severe can create a hostile or offensive work environment.
Retaliation claims stand alone, meaning that even if the underlying age claim allegations are not proven, the employee may still recover on the retaliation claim. Two loss prevention keys can help employers avoid costly retaliation and discrimination claims.
First, employers must provide training for workers in all areas of equal employment opportunity including protection of employees from discrimination or harassment.
To curb retaliation claims, employers should not only train managers and supervisors on the types of behavior that constitute retaliation, but they should also take action to protect employees who report discrimination. Communicate that retaliation is not tolerated and provide a direct and safe method of reporting retaliation.