Monday, March 26, 2012

Code words and dog whistles

Fox Rothschild LLP
Richard B. Cohen
March 20 2012

You know not to call an employee “old” or “ancient.” That is clearly direct evidence of age discrimination.

But how about calling an employee “old school? Or “set in his ways?” Or “not a proper fit for the "new environment?” Or “lacking in energy?” Then you’ll be fine, right? No age lawsuit against you!

Wrong. These have been held to be code words used in cases of age discrimination. Or in modern political parlance -- “dog-whistle” expressions.

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