Woman claims discrimination, retaliation at Anthropologie

Some people in Arizona who shop at Anthropologie may have heard that a lawsuit has been filed against the owner of the company, Urban Outfitters. A 54-year-old woman says she faced retaliation after she used a company hotline to complain about her boss.

The woman claims she was told she would not get a managerial position because everyone in the company was young. She was then scheduled to work closing and opening shifts back to back for 10 days straight as well as being put on fitting room duty. The company moved her to another store, and she phoned the police after spotting a suspicious person in the store; she was then fired. A lower court said there was no proof the company's actions were retaliatory because they were not adverse enough to meet the standards of retaliation for age discrimination.

However, two appeals court judges noted that all the managers in the store where the woman worked were in their 20s and 30s although there were older workers. The judges felt she could pursue an age discrimination claim separately.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers who are 40 and older from age-related discrimination on the job. Workers are also supposed to be protected from retaliation if they make a complaint about age discrimination or other types of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation is defined as an adverse action, and it is not necessary for it to be termination or a demotion to be considered an adverse action. In some cases, what would be an adverse action toward one employee would not necessarily be toward another. Employees who believe they are facing discrimination at work may want to talk to an attorney about how to report it and what to do if they face retaliation.

Source: Bloomberg, "Too Old for Anthropologie? Court to Decide," Chris Opfer, 8/23/2018

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