Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business Marketing

Court affirms firing an older worker wasn’t age discrimination

(BUSINESS MARKETING) No one wants to be accused of age discrimination, but this particular case highlights what businesses can learn in case of necessary termination.

Walking employees on a street, could face age discrimination.

Rosemary Salazar sued University Medical Center for age discrimination after she was let go in 2017. Salazar alleged that her employer replaced her and other older employees with younger workers. The hospital asserted that Salazar had been terminated for poor performance. Salazar was 57 when she was terminated after over 27 years on the job. On the surface, it appeared that Salazar had a good case for age bias.

The hospital demonstrated that she had been on a performance improvement plan. Salazar then claimed that the hospital didn’t follow its disciplinary plan and used it as a pretext to fire her for her age. The hospital was able to provide documentation as to her performance evaluations and its own policies regarding termination, showing that it did not have to fully go through the process before termination. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision, stating “Salazar failed to present sufficient evidence to create doubt as to whether this reason was a mere pretext for discrimination.”

What businesses can learn from the court’s decision

The hospital was able to show that age did not play a factor in the decision to terminate Salazar. Their documentation was vital to their case. It wasn’t only that they could show Salazar’s performance, but that the hospital had policies in place to prevent adverse actions based on a legally protected characteristic, such as age or gender. The hospital had documentation that supported their claims.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Businesses can often feel as if they cannot fire an underperforming older worker. This case clearly demonstrates that the courts do take note of the circumstances around the termination of an older worker.

It’s important to work with your HR team to document termination decisions and to consistently apply all guidelines concerning performance issues. Don’t let age discrimination (or another legally protected characteristic) play a part in terminating an employee. Look at job performance and your own policies. Document everything.

Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The first millennials turn 40 this year - is age discrimination on the horizon?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.