Ageism on the rise

With the Baby Boomers advancing to the ranks of retirees, those who don’t want to retire are striking back in larger numbers. Rutgers, the largest public university in New Jersey, was sued for age discrimination early in 2012. The suit was joined by 3 others who were fired. Such claims are on the rise. In 2012, 22,857 such claims were filed with the EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, compared with 16,548 in 2006.

Lest you think the legal community is exempt from such claims, look back at the Sidley Austin settlement of $27 million not all that long ago. A number of “partners” were terminated by the firm, claiming they were partners.  The EEOC claimed they were employees, irrespective of the title the firm gave them. If you look like a duck and act like a duck, you must be a duck, according to the EEOC. In the terms of the Internal Revenue Service, if the substance of the transaction is taxable, its form is irrelevant. The legal profession, and others, feared that Sidley would fight this in court, lose and thereby set precedent. Since they settled, no such precedent has been set. But, the bell has rung; the legal profession is being watched by the EEOC as are others.


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