We receive more and more calls from potential clients in the banking industry, and especially from Well Fargo Bank, who believe that they are being mistreated, discriminated and disciplined because of their age. While some of those claims don’t have much merit, in some cases there is significant evidence that the reason that an employee is mistreated is his or her age. This is particularly prevalent in sales and IT departments, but for two different reasons:
Age Discrimination in Sales
Age Discrimination in sales and marketing is mostly driven by the fact that companies won’t to put the prettiest, the youngest and the most energetic people to the front line to interact with their customers, primarily for “aesthetic reasons”. This is not a defense to an age discrimination lawsuit, but for some banks it’s worth taking the risk of facing liability for discrimination for the sake making its sales teams younger and more physically attractive.
Age Discrimination in IT Departments
The discriminatory treatment of older employees in IT departments of various banks is driven by this stereotype and largely unfounded belief that older people are not up to date with the most current technology and are less inclined to keep up with the newest and the latest in IT. This is the reason why some of the more common evidence of age discrimination in the tech world is such statements by managers to older employees as: “you are too old school” and “your ways of thinking are outdated or not relevant anymore” or “you should really consider moving your ways of thinking into this, 21st century.”
Employers Are Tempted to Replace Older Workers with Younger Ones In Order To Save Money
Employers can pay recent college grads much less, and sometimes half of what they would pay to a professional who is both senior in his industry and approaching being senior age wise. Employers can also save on healthcare costs and other benefits, since younger employees generally have fewer health problems and also take less time off due to being sick. However, trying to save on wages is also not a defense to age discrimination.
Employers are Encouraged to Discriminate Against Older Workers Because Age Discrimination is Difficult to Prove in Court
One other reason that employers are tempted to terminated older employees is because they know how difficult it is to prove age discrimination in court. Therefore, managers come up with all kinds of reasons for terminating older employees – from false and fabricated write-ups to “lay-offs” and “restructuring” during which they conveniently remove older worker to only replace them with significantly younger workers a few weeks or months later.
Nevertheless, an experienced, competent employment attorney will go through all the facts and circumstances of discriminatory treatment or termination of an older worker to see if the likely reason for termination or demotion was due to age and thus unlawful.