NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Restructurings Increase Age Bias Suits

August 29, 1996

Age-discrimination lawsuits are beginning to outnumber sex-discrimination suits in the U.S. as large companies trim their work forces.

  • A class-action suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of 250 workers age 40 or above who were dismissed by a former Westinghouse defense unit is now one of the Commission's largest pending cases.
  • Labor and legal experts say dismissed employees are more likely to sue if they feel they were treated in a degrading manner -- rather than feeling they were discriminated against.
  • A number of companies soften the blow and shield themselves legally by offering consulting contracts and severance bonuses in exchange for a waiver of the right to sue.

Experts advise corporations seeking to avoid suits to give employees more notice and present them with more options, rather than seeming to throw them out the door.

Source: Paulette Thomas, "Restructurings Generate Rash of Age-Bias Suits," Wall Street Journal, August 29, 1996.

 

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