A recent decision discussed a plaintiff, a 61-year old salesman for defendant, who was fired and replaced with a female in her thirties.  He  sued for age and sex discrimination in federal court in Pennsylvania, in what the Court called a “classic conflict between a controversial supervisor and his dejected salesman.”   Plaintiff claimed that he had always had good performance reviews and alleged that the supervisor favored younger, female salespeople.

24082726_sThis case is not particularly noteworthy — except maybe to us, because we get to discuss the supervisor’s alleged code words for age and gender.

Plaintiff testified, and the Court held that this created a material issue of fact (along with other factors), that the supervisor “made a number of disparaging remarks indicating a predilection for age and race discrimination,” i.e., that “his hiring practices would make his sales team look like a ‘cheerleading team,’ that management was going to think his hiring technique was to create a ‘harem,’ [and] that he does not like working with employees who were ‘long in the tooth. …”

Long in the tooth” — we heard that one before.

We posted last March about a lawsuit in which a waitress in NYC was fired after working for 35 years – she claimed that she was long the subject of unwelcome sexual advances including the touching of her breasts and buttocks, and that the manager complained that she and other waitresses were “a little long in the tooth.”

“Language workaround” is what we noted the other day was the term that one commentator called these code words.