Recently a court in Ohio determined that if your boss repeatedly asks you
questions such as “when are you going to retire?” or urges
you to retire, these actions may support a claim under the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination
against individuals over the age of 40. In
Franks v. Village of Bolivar, the Northern District of Ohio ruled that a mayor’s repeated and
relentless urging of a city worker to retire supported a claim of
If you believe you have been subjected to age discrimination at work or
have questions concerning your employer’s conduct, an experienced
Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer can provide you crucial advice about your potential claim and help you
determine your next steps.
In Franks, a man – Gary Franks – was employed as the water
and street superintendent for 33 years. As a city employee he was appointed
for yearly terms, beginning and ending at the end of each calendar year.
In 2011 he was not reappointed. In a complaint for age discrimination,
Franks alleged that he was terminated because he was an older employee
at the high end of the pay scale with benefits and payments due. He also
claimed that the mayor “relentlessly badgered” him to retire.
Other statements showing age bias include telling him that “he could
go work on a farm” and that she would “throw a big party if
he would leave his job.”
The court determined that these facts alone were enough to show direct
evidence of age discrimination. He did not need to establish that other
similarly situated employees were treated better. The court explained
that where an employee alleges direct evidence – such as discriminatory
statements – these alone may be enough to bring a lawsuit. The “McDonnell
Douglas” test involving evidence that an older employee was replaced
by a younger one or better treatment of a similarly situated worker is
not necessary is not necessary at the pleading stage where direct evidence
of discrimination is alleged.
The court also noted that while the terms “retire” and “age”
are not synonyms, where asking an employee over and over when they are
going to retire can suggest an age-related motivation if the worker is
Although employers should value older workers and the experience they bring
to the workforce, as the American work force ages, violations of the ADEA
For more information or if you believe you have been subjected to employment
discrimination, contact the knowledgeable
Atlanta age discrimination lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for a confidential consultation.