Age cases would not be age cases if not for the vast number of creative ways employers refer to employees as “old.” Seems like there is no limit to how employers – and society – refer disparagingly to older people. A new appeals court decision gives us a chance “to count the ways.”
A 76-years old security guard in Missouri claimed that he was fired because of his age and his direct evidence of this was his supervisor’s comment to him, among other things, that he “needed to hang up his Superman cape.” A federal appeals court just held that the employee stated a prima facie case of age dsicrimination.
Add that to our ever-growing list: “ancient,” “old school,” “set in his ways,” “not a proper fit for the “new environment,” “lacking in energy,” “not being up to date,” “sounds old on the telephone,” “is like a bag of bones,” and “a little long in the tooth.”
A helpful reader, Robin Benton, president of an employee benefit consulting firm in the Chicago area, referring to an earlier post added this: “Great article. My favorite Code Phrase was: “You mean they had cars when you started to work here?” Nice reminder that things even said in jest can come back to bite you later.”