Friday, February 03, 2006

Baby Boomer Employees and Age Discrimination Laws Both Show No Signs of Slowing Down

An article by Jonathan Segal for the Society for Human Resource Management's HR Magazine discusses recent polls showing that baby boomers will continue working longer than prior older workers and statistics showing an increase in age discrimination awards. He points out, therefore, that for employers, a graying workforce creates both opportunity and potential liability. "Opportunity lies in using older workers’ skills to fill gaps occasioned by the declining birth rate. But liability will arise if your organization improperly excludes, marginalizes or tosses aside older workers. They will fight back, and they will find strong allies in juries."

Analyzing federal and state age discrimination laws, Segal points out difficulties employers may have in mandating the retirement of high executives, whether voluntary retirement program incentives are really voluntary, and issues about the protection of older workers (over 40) as opposed to "older older" workers (closer to 65).

Source: "Time Is on Their Side" HR Magazine (February 2006)

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