While many older workers in New Jersey have been victims of age discrimination, it’s often difficult to prove this in a court of law. However, recent federal rulings indicate could make it easier to take action.
A pharmacist who worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs recently brought her case all the way to the Supreme Court after she sued for age discrimination. The court deliberated on whether the phrase “OK, boomer” was discriminatory and returned an 8-1 verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Justice Samuel Alito cited a 1967 ruling, which states that age should not be a factor when people interact within the workplace. However, the court also ruled that age discrimination must be the main factor as far as overturning a lower court’s decision concerning age discrimination is concerned, even if other issues come into play.
During the oral argument, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the pharmacist’s lawyer if using the phrase “OK, boomer” would be a prosecutable offense if a hiring team was trying to decide between two candidates. The plaintiff’s lawyer said it would be an offense if they made a hiring decision based on that assumption. The only justice who dissented was Clarence Thomas, who said that that the ruling would allow employees to say they faced age discrimination even if they received promotions and raises comparable to their peers.
Laws concerning discrimination in the workplace can be interpreted in many ways, as shown by this Supreme Court case. Employees who feel that they have faced prejudice on the job may benefit by speaking with experienced legal counsel. A knowledgeable attorney could help a worker determine if they can obtain legal remedies for discrimination or a toxic work environment.