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Do you feel you’ve been discriminated against because of your age while working at Amazon?

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination means treating an employee or job applicant less favorably than others because of his or her age.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. This federal law doesn’t protect workers who are under age 40, but many states have laws that do.

Protections for Younger Workers

According to the National Youth Rights Association (NYRA), many states have laws against “reverse” age discrimination. These laws make it illegal for employers to turn down applicants for being “too young” (as long as they’re least 18) or to harass younger workers with nicknames and insults based on their age.

A chart of states offering such legal protections for younger workers is here.

Discrimination against Older Workers

Most age discrimination cases involve older workers, even though those over 40 may not think of themselves as “older.”

Older workers, with more experience and seniority, may earn more than younger workers and thus may be the first to be laid off when a company is trying to cut costs.

Companies may also assume that older workers are “out of touch” with the times, that they don’t work as hard as younger workers, or that they are more likely to become ill or injured

As Forbes reports, false negative assumptions hurt businesses as well as older workers.

In fact, as Forbes notes:

  •  Older workers are more likely to be loyal to the company and not to hop from job-to-job.
  •  The skills and experience of older workers add value to the company and give the workers better decision-making skills.
  •  Older workers tend to be more experienced collaborators than those who are new to the workplace – especially if the newer workers have only ever worked remotely due to the pandemic.
  •  Older workers often have developed stronger professional networks over the years.
  •  “Studies have found that the productivity of both older and younger workers is higher in companies with mixed-age work teams.”
  •  Older workers are vital for mentoring younger workers.

What does age discrimination look like?

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against older (and sometimes younger) employees in all aspects of employment, including:

  •  Hiring
  •  Firing
  •  Pay
  •  Job assignments
  •  Promotions and demotions
  •  Layoffs
  •  Training opportunities
  •  Benefits
  •  Any other terms or conditions of employment

What is harassment based on age?

Harassment on account of age is illegal. Harassment can include:

  • Frequent offensive or derogatory remarks or slurs, such as calling them “gramps” or “granny” or “old-timer”
  • Constant references to someone’s age
  • Making repeated “jokes” or sharing memes that focus on someone’s age

The occasional joke, teasing, or off-hand remark about someone’s age probably doesn’t rise to the level of harassment and thus isn’t the basis for legal action. However, when this behavior is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile work environment and interferes with the employee’s ability to do his or her job, then the employee may have the right to sue the employer.

Disparate impact

A company’s employment policies or practices may also be illegal even if they apply to all employees of all ages, if they have a negative impact on employees over 40 and aren’t based on a reasonable factor other than age.

For example, the US Supreme Court decided in Smith v. City of Jackson that police and public safety officers employed by the city were discriminated against by the city because salary increases were less generous to officers over 40, most of whom had been on the job longer than younger officers.

According to the pleadings in a class action lawsuit filed against Amazon in 2019, Amazon discriminated against older workers and made it harder for them to work.

According to the plaintiffs, many workers hired between 2015 and 2019 were hired as temporary, part-time, or seasonal “white badge” employees. Allegedly, Amazon discriminated against white badge workers who were older and made it hard or impossible for them to achieve permanent “blue badge” status.

The complaint alleged that Amazon tried to “thin the heard” and get rid of these older workers.

“Amazon is a younger company”

Another worker claimed that she was fired when she complained about age discrimination at Amazon.

According to this article, the 51-year-old woman was interested in “Problem Solve” job training at Amazon. After being told for a year that she would “soon” be trained, she saw that younger, newly hired workers were being offered the training and she complained.

She said she was told by someone at an Amazon Learning Center: “Well, you know, Amazon is a younger company and you would probably feel better if you got a job somewhere else.”

She said that when she filed a complaint, the company first ignored her and then retaliated against her with repeated write-ups until she was fired.

A recent lawsuit in Texas claims that Amazon discriminated against a Senior Technical Account manager on the basis of his age (45), Indian descent, and disability. The plaintiff claims that a younger white employee was favored for trainings and out-of-town in-person customer meetings. 

Ads targeted to younger workers

Amazon and other companies have been sued for routinely imposing age restrictions on who can see recruitment ads posted on Facebook. A class action complaint was filed in San Francisco in 2019.

According to the complaint,

Amazon has regularly used Facebook’s ad platform to send employment advertisements to prospective applicants for a range of positions at Amazon throughout the United States; and in doing so Amazon has restricted the age range of the population that Amazon intended to receive its employment ads to focus on younger workers and exclude older workers.

Specifically, according to the complaint, Amazon targeted its job ads to reach only people “ages 18-54,” “ages 18 to 50,” “ages 28 to 55,” and “ages 22 to 40.”

Your next steps as a victim of age discrimination at Amazon:

If feel you’ve been the victim of age discrimination at Amazon, call attorney CJ Rosenbaum at 212-256-1109, text 212-256-8492. You can also submit a summary of your situation online.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It See What Others Have Said About Their Experience!


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Rosenbaum, Famularo & Segall, P.C.

Telephone: 212-256-1109

Email: CJ@AmazonSellersLawyer.com

Address: 138 East Park Ave. Long Beach, NY 11561

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