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Thread: Maryland - Age Discrimination (hours given to teenagers)

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    Default Maryland - Age Discrimination (hours given to teenagers)

    Hello All. I am hoping someone can give me some feedback about this situation. It looks to me from things I have read, that I can make a valid official complaint. I would rather not have to file a complaint, but the management is being unreasonable with what now appears to be a pattern. I let it go last time, but I can't keep losing my work hours and income to teenagers.

    I am 55 years old. I have worked at this job for 5 years, 3 days a week (now reduced to only 2). It is a part-time job at a government-owned recreational sports facility. Only one other person in my specific position has been there longer than I have, and he is also the only other person in the position who is over the age of 20 yo. In all positions combined for the entire facility, only 2 of them are older than I am, and they are retirees have been there for decades, one in a position that can't be done by teenagers, and the other in a position that doesn't involve physical activity. Sometime about a year or so ago, there was a woman in my age group and position who suddenly disappeared (rumor says was fired), who had been there longer than I, and the year before that, a woman in my age group was suddenly gone (rumored to be fired) who had been there for many years (she was in a different position, but still one dominated by young people). I am making a point of them, because management only rarely fires anyone, because having the kids there means bad employees will usually just leave on their own for school or other activities without any fuss (which is a point to the management's benefit of having only teenagers, which I had not considered until right now). The number of people in my position averages about 10, but it fluctuates a lot (between 5 and 15) with an exceedingly high turnover rate and kids who are on college breaks who only work twice a year. All of my reviews have been excellent, full of nothing but praise. I have never been written up for anything. I have qualifications to do certain tasks that none of the others currently employed in my position have the experience or formal training qualifications to do. Part of the job involves supervising customers during recreational sports sessions, so it is a very physical job. Part of the time the job entails helping customers with equipment, there is also cleanup to do at the end of the day, and then there are two assignments that no one currently in my position is qualified to do except for me (one of them the teenagers could learn but there is no time for them to train or practice, and the other one requires experience and investment into formal training).

    This week, for the second time in 6 months, I discovered that one of my shifts is being given to a teenager. This time it is a teenager who has only been there a few months, who is so inexperienced that she has had to use rental equipment to do her job because she was hired to do a sport activity she had no experience doing. She has not had the training or experience to do the task for which she could be trained in-house but has not been, and she absolutely is completely unqualified to do the assignment I have been doing which is the provision of a government-mandated service (there was a big lawsuit). The last time my hours were cut, they were divided between two teenagers, one who was only on a break from college, and the other who did not even want the hours (she and I both, at the direction of the manager, signed a letter to get him to change the schedule, but then he still refused to change the schedule). When the college kid left, I got back half of the hours, but was never given back the hours the girl had, and those went to a different newly hired teenager instead of back to me.

    The managers claimed both the last time and this time, that the schedule was changed due to budget issues. But they did not reduce hours on the shifts, just replaced me so that teenagers could have those hours. Both times, they had just added to the schedule college kids who were just on breaks, which meant less hours for me. In spite of the present claim of budget issues, over the last two months, several teenagers were hired for the position, and there are job openings advertisements for the position on both the facility website and the over-seeing government agency headquarters main website, with a closing date for February of 2018. The managers claim that the teenagers' hours were reduced, and yet the majority of them have more hours than I do. The managers do not even care that, by removing me from the shift they just gave to an unqualified teenager, they are denying mandated services to an individual who had to go through official channels to get those services.

    The last time this happened, I could not do anything about it. There was no previous incident to establish a pattern (as there is now), and I did not know about age discrimination laws (which I spent the last couple of days researching). I have already lost income because of the hours being taken from me the last time in favor of teenagers, and now I will lose even more income to a recently hired inexperienced teenager. I asked management to re-consider, and explained why I believe it would benefit them more to have me filling those hours, but they still refuse to put me back in those hours.

    I imagine that some of the regular customers and some of the coaches will be unhappy about the change as well, because they often complain when I am not the one doing the part of the job which involves supervising the sports activity (it is a dangerous sport even when properly supervised). I think when they learn that I will no longer be working those hours, they may complain to management even if I don't tell them anything. One of them is actually a lawyer who management sometimes makes changes for to avoid having him complain above their heads (which he has done multiple times over decades of using the facility). One of the coaches is always getting age-related comments made about her by the teenagers who work there; she often asks me if I am working and tells me she is glad when it is me instead of the kids (she complains about them a lot for not adequately enforcing safety rules, since most of them ignore a lot of unsafe situations). I think there is some support for me from these people even if I don't personally mention my problem to them.

    I really love working at this place, and I have good relationships with co-workers, customers, and the coaches. I enjoy working with the teenagers because they have so much energy; it is not their fault that management makes changes to the schedules in their favor (my FT career and education have included working with adolescents in the mental health field). I have no intention of leaving the job regardless of getting the hours back. However, if I am still going to be replaced by an inexperienced teenager who is unqualified for all of my duties, then it needs to be for a "reasonable factor other than age" that is fair and logical enough to cause me to lose income without causing me to believe that the cut was an act of discrimination.

    I'm trying really hard to not make any further comment to management. The last thing I said, in an e-mail, was that I was missing needed to do research of the entire over-seeing organization before drawing any conclusions about the practice of favoring of inexperienced teenagers over mature, experienced staff. I did not use the term discrimination, or mention anything legal or threaten to make complaints or to go over anyone's head.

    Please provide constructive comments, feedback, or information about this situation. Let me know if I am missing something, play devil's advocate if you feel like it will help me think things through in a more objective way.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by mdwrkr; 12-30-2017 at 04:51 PM.

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    What EVIDENCE do you have that you are not being given the hours because of your age, and not because they can pay teenagers less?

    The first is not legal but the second is, and if you bring a complaint the onus is on you (at least initially) to show discrimination; it is not (at least initially) on the employer to show it is not.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    Agreed with CBG. Past that, the law you are talking about is ADEA, and the related federal agency is EEOC. You can go there for more information, but at the end of the day, you need to PROVE your case. And I notice that despite having a really long post, you managed to avoid mentioning anything you have which actually supports your case. No offense, but that will not comply with legal requirements.

    Also, you might not want to hear this but I spent 25 years as a supervisor/manager and I can say as a fact that actions taken by management were often unrelated to the motives ascribed by the work force.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    Thanks for responding.

    I read the law and all of the EEOC discussion on the most recent revisions to it.... twice. According to all of that EEOC commentary, the motivation doesn't have to be discrimination for the action to cause discrimination, the employer has to make an effort not to use practices that would cause disparity (intentional or not), and that cost-saving actions are not in themselves adequate as "reasonable factor other than age". I would post exact quotes, but am not on.my computer.

    Everyone gets the same pay, because the minimum wage was just jacked up to $11.50..

    I guess the last email I had sent, mentioning favoring, meant something, because today the head manager said they can talk with me if I like. He does that when he is at least willing to tell someone nicely that he isn't going to do what they want, but will at least listen to what they have to say. At least it is better than nothing. They probably still will not change the schedule though, because that is how the head manager is, he does not back down on anything (there was actually a disabilities discrimination lawsuit threatened recently by advocates for an employee who has medical concerns and was getting his schedule messed with; that is what it took to get resolution). This manager is generally a good manager and a nice guy, but does not usually conceed to reason and does not base decisions on merit, even though the written agency policy is to base them on merit.

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    A raise in minimum wage does not mean that everyone is paid the same.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    Just so you know you aren't talking to a complete dummy....

    I got a settlement in the tens of thousands from a lawsuit I handled PRO SE for wrongful termination from an job that was At Will. No lawyer would touch the case. If they had, we would have gone to court and the amount would have been very large. I knew I was right, and I could prove it with the laws and case law behind me to prove that I was. The judge tried to talk me out of it from the first hearing. The corporate lawyers threw motions at me at every turn. I still came out ahead.
    Last edited by mdwrkr; 12-31-2017 at 01:07 PM.

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    Fine. Then you go right ahead and sue everyone. Come back and tell us how it went.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    Fine. Then you go right ahead and sue everyone. Come back and tell us how it went.
    How is that comment useful or helpful? I have seen that same comment on other threads (I read through several pages worth of them before posting), and it clearly has resulted in a number of other posters to be offended, when they just expected some benefit of the knowledge and experience of other people who might be able to offer it. A comment that is intended to instigate negative feelings and possibly start a fight and make people feel bad , is not at all helpful or useful, it does notthing in the way of providing information, does not give any benefit of experience, and it creates a forum atmosphere that is unhealthy (I have run a few message forums personally). If your admin has any concern for maintaining a healthy and beneficial atmosphere here, she or he will explain to you that your comment is at the very least a smug and negative comment that does not in any way promote the mission or values the forum claims to maintain. The comment also turned some other threads into threads of hostility rather than threads of experience that would prove helpful to people who actually try to find the information that is already here instead of adding an entire new thread on the same topic. Its not even an appropriate comment for people who are only seeking permission to carry out actions of anger or are trying to make a few bucks at the expense of employers who may or may not have done anything wrong intentionally or unintentionally (some laws do not require intent if the result is unlawful).

    If you read correctly, you will see that my point in mentioning the other case was just so that you know I'm not a dummy, just posting blindly after having done no research or thought anything out beforehand. At no point did I go shouting, "lawsuit, lawsuit". I actually said that i dont want to have to file a complaint. Dealing with that other case took 3 years off of my life and was just about the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I have no desire to put myself through it again.

    Back to the actual subject, with useless nonsense aside.....

    I replied to the manager on his offer to meet, simply saying, "thank you, that would be helpful", and telling him when I will be available to meet.

    If there are any managers or HR people who have had to deal with employees on very similar situations, it might be helpful for me to hear how you would have liked your employee to handle the situation in a way that left all parties satisfied with the outcomes.

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    If you're really looking for advice and not justification (which is exactly what your defensive "I'm not a dummy" post makes you sound like - it comes across as "I know it all and if you're not telling me what I want to hear that just means you don't know the law as well as I do". That may not by what you meant but it's ****ed well what it sounds like. And you're lucky I was the one who responded and not some of the people who post here and on the other boards where I've seen your question; I'm a walk in the park compared to some others) then I would say you want to be very, very careful going in. Under no circumstances refer to what you or anyone else gets paid. That is a really, really good way of giving them a legal and valid reason to fire you so they don't have to give you any hours at all. The WORST thing any employee can ever do is compare what they are getting paid to what someone else is getting paid. So even though some close to 40 years of HR management says to me this is a financial issue, you want to keep far away from it. The issue is not what anyone gets paid or who has what kind of energy; the issue is what you bring to the table. There needs to be some recognition on your part that there might be some valid business-related reasons why your hours are being cut and that you're willing to accept them. No one is going to be willing to talk with you if you come blazing in with the kind of attitude that's come through here. Right from the beginning when you spent two paragraphs telling us how good you are before giving us anything related to the problem. (Again, it may not be what you intended, but from the very start you've come across, at least in writing, as being defensive, argumentative, and not willing to listen to anything anyone has to say unless it's what you want to hear. You absolutely do not want that kind of attitude to come across in person.) Two shifts in six months is hardly a pattern. Rumors very often have no basis in fact.

    You want to come across as reasonable and cooperative. NOT demanding and defensive. It's not about what the teenagers can't do; it's about what you can. I'm not entirely sure I'd want to hear anything from someone who's had two shifts cut in a six month period, but if I were going to listen to it that's what I'd want to hear.

    You want to keep VERY clearly in mind at all times that the law does not, in any way, shape or form, say that an older person cannot have their hours cut; it says only that they can't be cut BECAUSE of their age. You are going to need a great deal more than you have to show that age is the only factor.

    And yes, I used to be the person who investigated discrimination complaints and taught classes to other employers on how to recognize discrimination and conduct their own investigation. Since evidently you need verification that anyone who answers you knows what they're talking about.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    Fine. You are no dummy.

    What are the FACTS that support your case? I notice you like to make long posts that manage to leave out anything someone can use to help you. I notice you did not actual mention what type of case you won or what this magic set of facts you recognized that the attorneys did not see.

    If you actually want us to help you, how about meeting us half way and give us something to work with.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
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    I believe you are making inferences, assumptions, reading in things that are not there. Negative experience causes some people to approach everything with a negative view and to color everything in negative hues. I gave the factual history, because without setting a background, people don't know where I'm coming from. The only thing anyone here would know is what I actually write. There is no need to make assumptions based on the order in which information is presented in a post, nor about the length of the post - there is no point in posting if the information is not there. There seems to be an assumption that the employee is usually wrong and is usually making up how good they are. If some employee posters are making themselves look better than they are, then let them live in their dreams, but that is not what I am doing. Sometimes a picture is rosy because the visible scenery is rosy. Responders should only be responding to what is presented as being the facts, no matter if the person posting the thread is making up or coloring the facts. Responders aren't doing much good if all their comments are based on inferences and assumptions that were colored by extensive history of negative experiences defending employers. There is no need to intimidate people who might have some kind of intelligence but need information to go with it. If I thought I knew everything, I would not have posted (I copy/pasted my post on 2 forums, because I hadn't yet gotten any responses; it is a very common practice and is only an indication that the poster wants responses, nothing more). However, I do know what I read on the EEOC website, and I believe the EEOC's statements about the laws it exists to create, support, and defend on both sides of the street.

    When I get to a computer, I will post quotes of some of the things written on the EEOC website on which I am basing statements about the law. I'm not making these things up.

    There is no difference in pay rate to compare, so that is not at all a factor. The only factor management is stating is that they have budget issues. They are claiming to have cut people, but if they were just cutting, they would not have put someone else in my place who has the same pay rate. The organization is still actively soliciting for new employees to fill the same position at the same facility, which is very far from an indication of a need to cut schedules to save money. There history indicates a preference for teenagers.

    Of course, since I am not a psychic, I can't possibly know as absolute fact, what specific thoughts there are in the heads of other people. Maybe someone doesn't like that I have curly hair, or maybe someone is upset that one of the part-time supervisors cut her own hours when I got her a FT job where I work FT. Maybe they don't like the scented lotion I use when putting on gear, or don't like that I wash my hands a lot. Maybe they don't like that I openly tell gossipers that I don't care if the gossip about me as long as what they say is factually true. Maybe they are mad because I am the only person who doesn't break the rules of not doing homework when on duty. Maybe they are just wanting to see what I will do if they do things that don't make me happy. None of those things matter, because none of those things satisfy the defense of "reasonable factor other than age", The EEOC has very clear descriptions on its website about what is expected of both employers and employees, and there is quite a bit there explaining "prudence" required of supervisors who might inadvertently violate the law simply by not being "prudent" in the making of decisions that affect employees in unintended or intended ways.

    This is a part-time minimum wage job, not the job that pays my bills. While it is very important to me to work there for reasons far beyond money, it is not the kind of job that I would address with a lawsuit. I am looking for a solution that does not involve a lawsuit. I would be talking to actual lawyers if a lawsuit is what I wanted. At this point, I have not even filed a complaint with the person at the organization headquarters, because I am waiting to see if my boss will become more reasonable. However, I can't do anything at all if I have to be able to actually advocate for myself besides just griping about the schedule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAW View Post
    Fine. You are no dummy.

    What are the FACTS that support your case? I notice you like to make long posts that manage to leave out anything someone can use to help you. I notice you did not actual mention what type of case you won or what this magic set of facts you recognized that the attorneys did not see.

    If you actually want us to help you, how about meeting us half way and give us something to work with.
    I believe I stated the facts. Facts without background are useless. The facts are that I, an over-40 yo worker was replaced by a recently hired inexperienced teenager who doesn't make any less money than me, so replacing me with her does not support the claim of cost-saving, especially when the employer is still advertising to hire more workers for the position (they always hire more this time of year). I personally can see no logical reason for replacing me with a less qualified person other than either 1. A preference for teenagers in a teenager-dominated position for which I am the absolute oldest employee; or 2. Something subjective in someone's thoughts; or 3. Lack of the prudence which the EEOC expects from employers, to prevent older workers from being treated in a disparate way.

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    Okay, I've tried to give you reasonable answers and to give you some things you'll need to think about, and also give you some information about how you come across. I stated more than once that I recognized you may not intend to come across the way you are, so that you'd maybe understand the necessity of modifying your approach. Instead, you're only interested in arguing and proving that you're right.

    NO one has said this is not age discrimination. It might be, it might not be. But what you're failing to understand is that you have not posted anything remotely like enough evidence to prove your case. I know what the EEOC says, thank you. There's no need to post anything. I've spent quite sufficient time on their website to be familiar with it.

    Fine. I've had enough. Do what you want. But don't do it here, please. You've had responses from two experienced HR managers and an experienced manager from another area, but you're convinced there can be on other answer but the one you want to hear. There's no use wasting any more time on the subject.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    That is the problem. There is no answer I want to hear. What I want is information and maybe suggestions on how to handle the situation.

    The only productive thing said, was the advice about how not to act. While I don't tend to act that way, and don't plan on acting that way, it does not at all hurt to be reminded, so that I can remind myself if for some reason I go out of myself.

    I thought there would be more than just a bunch of people looking for someone they can use to make themselves look smarter or stronger or something. I guess I was wrong. I read through quite a lot of threads on this forum and decided that in spite of all the negative vibes, I would post anyway. When people give no background, they get told they can't be given advice because of not posting background. When they do post background, they get told the post is way too long, and the respondents make comments which clearly indicate that the did not bother reading anything other than between the lines in empty space.

    I guess I am going to be yet another person whom most of you people just wanted to use to make yourselves feel bigger than you really are. If you knew what my education and ft career are in, you might not act the way you have been, but you don't deserve the information since you can't provide any real information.

    Which makes me want to add, that if there really are people here who know the laws, why does no one ever give information about them, post links to them, quote them, or mention caselaw involving them? Saying you know something doesn't mean you do. And therein lies the problem. Good luck with the superiority complexes.

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    Many of us who post here have lots of combined years in HR experience. This experience includes working with a lot with employment laws. We’ve done a lot of investigations and listen to a lot of complaints. Some are valid and others are not. Specific Details matter. Lots of times the OP Has their perspective but They don’t know/see the employer’s perspective. On this board and other boards you’ve posted on you’ve gotten good advice and you gotten some scenarios where there would be reasons Where this would not be illegal discrimination due to age. Could it be? Sure!

    But one employee situation does not make Disparate impact cases. The EEOC will be looking at things like how many hires they make in each age group versus how many applicants are qualified in that age group. You say there aren’t a lot of people your age or older. But how many people your age or older actually apply for these jobs?

    I’ve successfully without outside counsel fought two discrimination claims – – one gender and one race. I wrote both employer perspectives. So while you’ve won your one case some of us out here have much more experience than that and details and one case have nothing to do with another.

    You say you don’t want to file a formal complaint – – I Think it’s because you realize you don’t really have enough proof. In the end arguing with strangers on the Internet isn’t going to do anything for your situation. Your best bet is to actually pay a lawyer in your area to review the situation to see if they think you have a case.
    Last edited by hr for me; 01-01-2018 at 10:24 AM.

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    Is any purpose served by leaving this thread open?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
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