Employee Relations & Labor Relations Articles & Blog

    How HR Should Handle Age Discrimination in the Workplace

    Apr 19, 2018 11:40:00 AM Judd Lowe Labor relation

    We live and work in a tumultuous time of acceptance. Ageism is alive and growing in the workplace despite the best efforts of Human Resources to minimize such occurrences. When faced with an age discrimination complaint HR administrators and office managers must proceed with the utmost caution and diligence. Your primary goal will be a swift resolution and to avoid lengthy and expensive litigation that could result in much more than a settlement. It could cost the company your reputation.

    1. Have a clear and indisputable policy in place.
      The Federal Age Discrimination Act protects individuals from being discriminated against or harassed in the workplace. It’s the law. Learn it. Promote it. And enforce it. Ensure that the age discrimination policy your organization sets, based on this legislation, is communicated throughout the office whether in corporate handbooks and/or posters in common areas. HR should be sure that corporate guidelines and policies around tolerance are crystal clear to all employees.
    2. There will be consequences.
      It’s not enough to just discuss the policy, there should be an action plan in place should an age discrimination compliant be brought to your attention. Whether corrective trainings are necessary or immediate termination for policy breech, your employees should be aware of the cost of their actions if found guilty of ageism. Without this, you run the risk of a wrongful termination suit or a counter complaint from the subsequent penalties including suspension, demotion, or additional instruction.
    3. Diversity training for all.
      As HR policies evolve, your management team should be subject to professional development in the way of inclusion training and diversity situations in the workplace. However, it’s also important that direct reports be privy to exercises and workshops to grow as professionals and maintain a congruency among teams. This will reduce the risk of age discrimination complaints and HR issues.
    4. Take immediate Action.
      When faced with an age discrimination dispute, keep an open mind. Listen attentively. Gather evidence and conduct interviews. Document everything. Hire a third-party investigator if needed to maintain a non-bias environment and avoid legal ramifications. Once a judgment has been made, notify all parties swiftly and initiate the action plan. Every minute you delay you are one step closer to a court case, and possible irreparable damage to your business.

     

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    Judd Lowe

    Written by Judd Lowe

    Read all posts from Judd Lowe at LaborSoft. Judd and LaborSoft deliver the latest trends and best practices for employee grievances and case management.

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