Q: My boss clearly favors young people. HR claims that he cannot discriminate because he is 74 himself. Is this true?
A: Laws prohibiting workplace discrimination do not provide an immunity to a person who discriminates against a class to which the person belongs. Under Federal laws, typically only the employer can be sued for illegal discrimination, not individuals acting on the employer's behalf. Many state laws, however, allow for the individuals (such as supervisors) to be sued for violating the State's anti-discrimination laws. Those individuals are not off the hook for illegal discrimination just because they belong to the group against which they discriminate. The fact that the belong to the same class can make the case much harder to prove.
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