Age discrimination in employment applies when workers over 40 don’t have the same opportunities and benefits of younger workers. In many cases, it’s about not hiring workers over 40, like when iTutor used AI to reject applicants over 55. A new case out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division is a good reminder to think about your benefits policies for all workers.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged Cedar Fair, L.P., doing business as Cedar Point, and Magnum Management Corporation with age discrimination when the companies only offered reduced rates to its seasonal housing to out-of-town workers under the age of 30.
What’s the lawsuit about?
Cedar Point is a theme park in Sandusky, Ohio, near Cleveland. It bills itself as “a place like no other on Lake Erie Shore.” It’s a seasonal operation, so they recruit many employees who don’t live locally. Cedar Fair and Magnum provide housing for out-of-town employees at below market rates. In 2021, their policies changed. Employees over 30 were prohibited from accessing employee housing. The EEOC contends that this violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) because older workers could not resume employment with Cedar Point due to the economic barriers.
Learn from Cedar Point
A class action lawsuit filed earlier this year accuses Cedar Point of building a “younger, seasonal workforce.” The subsidized housing offered by the park is limited. It cannot house all the seasonal employees. By limiting the housing to workers aged 18 to 29, the company could attract and retain younger workers. Cedar Point may have a perfectly reasonable rationale for offering the housing to younger workers, but the EEOC contends that it is discrimination.
Offer benefits and opportunities to all workers
Fighting age discrimination against in court, win or lose, is always a loss for the business. Review your hiring and recruiting policies regularly to make sure you aren’t discriminating against workers over 40. Don’t forget to check the benefits you extend to your employees to make sure everyone has access.