With each passing birthday, California workers and job candidates may find themselves the subject of workplace age discrimination. Forbes describes a lawsuit that reveals how age discrimination in the workplace may appear in hiring practices and retirement policies.
To settle a class action lawsuit alleging age discrimination, Pricewaterhouse Coopers agreed to pay $11.625 million. An experienced certified public accountant in his 50s had initiated the suit over PwC’s decision to hire a younger, less-qualified candidate. While PwC did not admit discriminatory practices, it did agree to modify some of its hiring procedures. A judge must approve the settlement.
Job applicants may face age discrimination
The class in this lawsuit consisted of people over 40 years old who were not hired for certain jobs at PwC. The parties alleged disparate impact discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. This means that the claimants argued they are in a protected group of older workers who are “adversely and disproportionately” affected by discriminatory policies that appear to be neutral. California law currently protects outside job applicants under the ADEA.
Companies may have questionable retirement and recruiting policies
The lawsuit also targeted PwC’s mandatory early retirement policy that requires its partners to retire by the time they turn 60 years old. The settlement does not address this retirement policy, but does require PwC to change its hiring practices. PwC must open college campus recruiting opportunities and entry-level jobs to older prospects and stop asking questions that directly or indirectly elicit information about age. PwC will also hire a consultant to provide advice on age inclusivity.
Workers who are over 40 years old may find themselves subjected to discriminatory workplace practices that include failure to hire or forced retirement based on age. People who suspect ageism in the workplace may wish to consult with an experienced employment law attorney.