Fair Work P.C.

Boston Employee Rights Legal Blog

Age discrimination more likely for men, says study

Men are more likely than women to experience discrimination in Massachusetts workplaces based on their age, according to a study. Insurance company Hiscox released its 2019 Ageism in the Workplace Study, which found that less than 33% of women believed age had been an obstacle in looking for a new job after they were 40 years old. At the same time, 43% of men in the study said they thought being 40 or over had negatively impacted their job search.

Approximately 25% of women said they believed age hindered their career advancement after they reached 40, compared to almost 40% of men. One out of five workers at or over the age of 40, overall, said they had been discriminated against at work because of their age. Most respondents also said there was no ageism bias training over the prior 12 months. According to the study, people believe workplace age discrimination is most likely beginning at age 51, but 67% of respondents said they planned to work until after they were 66 years old.

Google accused of pregnancy discrimination

Employees in Massachusetts and throughout the country are generally protected from being harassed or discriminated against while pregnant. Furthermore, employers generally cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee for being a parent. One Google employee claimed that the company didn't take action against a manager who was reported to HR for acting inappropriately toward an employee who was a mother. That employee eventually became pregnant and alleges that she too was harassed and treated inappropriately before leaving for maternity leave.

After being treated harshly by the manager who she initially reported, the employee switched to a different team. She further claimed that she was discouraged from taking maternity leave early by her new manager despite experiencing health issues. Finally, the woman said that she was denied managerial opportunities and had reduced responsibilities on this new team. The employee wrote about her experiences in a memo that was posted to an internal message board where it was viewed roughly 10,000 times.

Are you treated like an employee but paid like a contractor?

Massachusetts wants you classified correctly according to the law as an employee or a contactor. With the wrong classification, you’re probably not getting pay and protections that improve your quality of life, but the Commonwealth is also being cheated. And Massachusetts does not like that.

Workplace sexual harassment is down, but sexism is up

Women in Massachusetts can take comfort in knowing that workplace sexual harassment is on the decline. This is according to a study based on a survey of more than 500 women conducted from 2016 to 2018. The women questioned said fondling, leering and ogling, and other types of unwanted sexual attention occurred less frequently during the two-year period studied. However, the same study found that sexism is on the rise.

A quarter of the women surveyed reported experiencing unwanted sexual attention in the workplace in 2018, a drop from 66% in 2016. Instances of sexual coercion dropped to 16% from 25% during the same two years. Sexist remarks and other forms of sexism, however, rose during the two-year study period. Instances of what's also referred to as gender harassment increased from 76 to 93%.

Court brief sides with transgender worker

Transgender workers in Massachusetts and throughout the United States should be protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is according to a brief submitted to the Supreme Court by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. The brief claims that discriminating against a transgender person is tantamount to sex discrimination, which Title VII prohibits. It backs up its claim by pointing to favorable rulings in 35 federal district courts over the past 20 years.

It also cites the American Psychological Association, which claims that those who change genders are not simply living out a fantasy. Instead, they are simply living as the gender that they believe themselves to truly be. According to the APA, decades of research has shown that only individuals themselves can know their true gender identity.

LGBTQ employees likely to witness or experience discrimination

A survey by Glassdoor found that 53 percent of employees who are LGBTQ have witnessed or experienced anti-LGBTQ statements by people they work with. For employees in Massachusetts, such behavior could rise to the level of actionable discrimination. Around 30 percent of non-LGBTQ employees said they had witnessed the same sort of statements. According to a group leader with Glassdoor, 26 states do not have protections on the books for LGBTQ workers. Many employees believe coming out to employers and co-workers could negatively impact their careers.

The U.S. House of Representatives, in May 2019, passed The Equality Act, a piece of legislation designed to expand the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The expansion would ban discrimination against employees or potential employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex. In 2015, when the bill was introduced, only three companies, Levi Strauss & Co., The Dow Chemical Company and Apple, offered public support. The bill had the support of 161 corporations by the time of its passage by the House.

Goldman Sachs sued over alleged LGBT discrimination

Many LGBT employees in Massachusetts continue to struggle with discrimination in the workplace even after they have reached a significant amount of career success. This is underlined in a lawsuit by a former Goldman Sachs vice president who is suing the Wall Street bank for workplace discrimination. He says that he was fired from his job in retaliation for complaining about discriminatory behavior aimed at him because of his sexual orientation. The openly gay banker was part of the company's LGBT network before his dismissal.

In the lawsuit, the former banker says that he received eight years of outstanding performance reviews during his time at Goldman Sachs and was repeatedly promoted. However, after he filed a complaint with the bank's employee relations team, he says that he was targeted for retaliation. He reported a list of incidents, including one occasion where he says he was told by a supervisor that he could not join a conference call with an important client because he "sounded too gay." After he filed the complaint, he said that he suddenly and unexpectedly received a poor performance review and was later terminated. The former banker said that the critical review was an attempt to lay the groundwork for his dismissal.

Americans think age plays a role in career success

Employers in Massachusetts are generally barred from using age when making employment decisions. According to a recent poll, however, roughly half of the respondents said that age discrimination takes place in the workplace. However, about 60% of respondents who are 60 or older say that older workers are frequently the target of such discrimination. Conversely, only 43% of respondents who were 45 or younger said the same thing.

Another 69% of those between the ages of 45 and 59 said that older workers are at a disadvantage in the workplace. Older individuals said that they believed that their age made it harder to get a promotion or a raise at work. One man said that he got weird looks when applying for a job, and this made him believe that he wouldn't be a serious candidate for the position. Another individual said that he couldn't find his year of birth as an entry option attempting to apply for a job online.

Ageism is a common problem at work

A new survey has found that 11% of workers over the age of 45 have experienced ageism on the job. This is in spite of the fact that it is illegal for employers in Massachusetts and elsewhere to discriminate based on a worker's age. Discrimination can take many forms such as not getting hired for a job or being demoted by an employer. It is generally accepted that ageism begins when a worker approaches age 50.

However, it is possible for discrimination to happen at any time. Furthermore, it is possible for workers of either gender to be the victim of ageism, but men are more likely than women to report this type of discrimination on the job. There may be several ways that a person can minimize the chance of being adversely impacted by his or her age. For example, individuals are encouraged to document any instances of illegal activity.

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