Like it or not, if you are 40 years old or older, your employer or coworkers may consider you downright geriatric and mistakenly assume that you are no longer able to perform the requirements of your position as well as a younger person. When you turn 40, you officially join the ranks of “old people” against whom discrimination is prohibited by law. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects employees and job applicants aged 40 and older from discrimination in employment. The ADEA makes it unlawful for employers with 20 or more employees to discriminate on the basis of age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment. This includes hiring, termination, promotions, salary, benefits, job assignments, and training.
According to a new class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in California against 3M Company, 3M engaged in a pattern of discrimination against employees older than 46 by giving them negative performance reviews, inferior training, lower pay, and fewer opportunities for promotion. The suit claims 3M discriminates against older workers throughout the entire United States, effectively shutting them out of top management positions. The Plaintiffs estimate over 2000 workers have been the victims of 3M’s discriminatory employment practices.
The crux of the allegations apears to be that 3M singled out younger workers for inclusion in their intentsive “Six Sigma” management training program, virtually assuring that 3M leadership would be comprised entirely of younger workers. The suit also claims that workers were asked to sign releases upon departing the company that contained misrepresentations of their legal rights. The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the releases unenforceable as a matter of law.
If the plaintiffs’ allegations are true, they may be entitled to back pay, front pay, reinstatement, and even reimbursement of their attorneys’ fees.