Fox & Fox, S.C.
Call Today for a Consultation
Toll Free: 800-416-5368
Mobile Icon
Menu Contact
View Our Practice Areas

Court: One ageist comment not enough to establish discrimination

As regular readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know, it’s never appropriate for an employer or supervisor to deny a job or a promotion on the basis of a person’s age. It’s just as inappropriate to fire someone or demote them because of their age.

It’s also wrong for employers and supervisors to age ageist comments in the workplace. However, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently held that a single ageist remark was inadequate for a worker to prevail in an age discrimination lawsuit.

A 54-year-old Costco worker filed suit claiming discrimination and retaliation under Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She was supervised by a 57-year-old manager who she said yelled out “nasty” and “intimidating” comments about her pace of work. The manager apparently told one of the plaintiff’s co-workers that he was “surprised that (Costco) didn’t hire someone younger” when the plaintiff began her employment.

However, the co-worker also said that the manager was unpleasant to all the workers and sometimes yelled at them in efforts to get them to work faster.

In this case, the court held that the manager was apparently abrasive with all the workers and had not singled out the plaintiff because of her age. In the decision, the court noted that the single “age-based comment” was not said to the woman and “did not contain any prejudiced views or derogatory slurs.” For that reason, the court determined that the manager had not harassed the worker “because of (her) age.”

Of course, in another context a single comment that is clearly discriminatory could be enough for a worker to establish that he or she was in a hostile work environment. So employers should not interpret the decision in this case as an opening of floodgates allowing discrimination and retaliation.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Super Lawyers
  • Top Ranked Chambers | USA
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
  • “Best Lawyers rated Fox & Fox, S.C.
    Tier 1 in Employment Law –
    Individuals and Litigation -
    Labor & Employment”

Contact Us Today

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Fox & Fox, S.C. 
111 E. Upper Wacker Drive
Suite 2600
Chicago, IL 60601

Toll Free: 800-416-5368
Map & Directions

Fox & Fox, S.C. 
111 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 1925
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Toll Free: 800-416-5368
Map & Directions

Fox & Fox, S.C. 
124 West Broadway
Monona, WI 53716

Toll Free: 800-416-5368
Map & Directions

Toll Free: 800-416-5368