Kristin Klein Wheaton and Christopher P. Maugans, members of the firm’s Employment and Labor and Commercial Litigation and Arbitration groups, wrote an article for Law360 discussing whether generational comments like “OK, Boomer” are actionable under age discrimination statutes in the workplace.
In “Workers Probably Can’t Sue Over ‘OK, Boomer’,” Kristin and Chris discuss how an age discrimination case is established, the types of claims that are not actionable, and what the legal versus practical implications in such cases are.
“Regardless of whether derogatory comments made about generational stereotypes are legally actionable, employers are well advised as a best practice to train their workforce to act professionally at all times. Specifically, hiring managers and human resources professionals should be trained to not inquire or discuss factors relating to protected classifications such as age in interviews. The training should also caution against writing any notes during interviews relating to the same type of comments, as those documents would be discoverable if there were ever litigation.”
“Workers Probably Can’t Sue Over ‘OK, Boomer’,” Law360, January 31, 2020
Kristin Klein Wheaton counsels and defends the interests of clients facing employment and labor issues, civil rights and discrimination claims, and complex commercial disputes. A skilled problem solver with over 20 years of legal experience in both the private and public sectors, Kristin’s wide-ranging practice includes labor and employee relations, contract negotiations, and assisting clients with Human Resources and employment counseling, as well as the creation and maintenance of compliance policies and strategies for state and federal laws. These clients include municipal bodies, such as towns, villages, counties, law enforcement bodies, and public entities; long-term care facilities, colleges and universities, and nonprofits; and the full gamut of private sector employers, in fields from health care and hospitality to logistics and manufacturing.
Christopher P. Maugans concentrates his practice in complex commercial litigation and matters involving employment and labor law. With a focus on serving both public- and private-sector clients, Chris handles matters involving discrimination claims, improper-practice charges, employee grievance arbitrations, General Municipal Law 207-c proceedings, and New York Education Law 3020-a hearings, as well as proceedings under Article 75 and Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR). Chris helps clients prepare for and navigate trials, mediations, arbitrations, and hearings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). He regularly counsels clients and litigates the enforceability of restrictive covenants in employment agreements, including non-competition and non-solicitation provisions.