A series of disturbing incidents of harassment targeting LGBT police officers in Arizona and other states has led to some calls for reform in the law enforcement community. Despite years of internal complaints, these incidents continue to pile up. Now, a series of lawsuits alleging workplace discrimination are flooding law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Workers in Arizona and around the country over the age of 40 are protected against unfair treatment in the workplace by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, but the landmark 1967 law does not specifically state that these protections extend to those applying for employment. The courts have consistently ruled that job advertising violates federal civil rights laws when it excludes candidates based on their race, gender, religion or national origin, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in April 2017 that employers could exclude older job candidates in certain situations without violating the ADEA.
Every Arizona employer should have the same interest in maintaining a workplace that's free of bias, prejudice, harassment and any other employment-related improprieties. However, achieving that goal while conducting business has been difficult for some companies. To help mitigate losses from lawsuits, pre-dispute arbitrations have become the norm in the vast majority of employment contracts. These require an aggrieved worker to seek some form of alternative dispute resolution prior to filing a lawsuit against the employer. That, however, may be changing.
Arizona readers may be interested to learn that Disney Cruise Line is being sued by a male former employee over claims of age and sex discrimination. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in November, the middle-aged employee worked as a labor analyst at Disney for 18 years. Over the last few years, he worked under an unidentified female manager who allegedly discriminated against him due to his age.
The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 signaled the beginning of a new era where public awareness and respect for people with disabilities was ushered in. Much progress has been made in Arizona workplaces due to the ADA's core requirement that employers must make reasonable accommodations to enable peoples with disabilities to gain and maintain employment. But is as true in much of the law, how the precise wording of the statute is interpreted by the courts defines the bottom line result.
While workers in Arizona and elsewhere may make more money than their peers, they may also be more likely to be terminated. This can be especially true in a place like Silicon Valley, and it can be in spite of the fact that many workers see a link between age and wisdom. Age discrimination is relatively common in the tech sector even though it is forbidden by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
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.
In a survey of older adults conducted by the AARP, almost two-thirds said they had experienced or seen age discrimination in the workplace, and 92 percent of respondents said age discrimination was somewhat or very common. For workers in Arizona who have experienced age discrimination it can sometimes be unclear what steps can be taken. A person who believes he or she has been discriminated against based on age should address the issue, follow the company reporting process and consider filing a charge.
Some people in Arizona may have heard that Uber has faced claims of gender discrimination and harassment. Three Latina engineers filed a lawsuit against the company in October 2017. They said their pay was lower than that of male colleagues who were Asian or white and that even when women and people of color performed well, they received lower rankings. These rankings along with prior compensation, a measure that generally leaves women at a disadvantage, were used to determine pay.
Age-based discrimination in the workplace remains disturbingly common in Arizona and around the country, according to a recently released study by the AARP. The nonprofit advocacy group asked 3,900 Americans 45 years of age or older about their work experiences, and 90 percent of them said that discrimination against older workers was commonplace. Almost two-thirds of the respondents said that they had been victims of such discrimination at least once during their careers.