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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Youth at Work

10. Juanita recently graduated from high school and began work as a shift manager at a retail store that specializes in clothing for juniors. She does not get along with an older employee (age 45) who works part-time. At one staff meeting, Juanita gave the older employee a cane as a joke. On another occasion, Juanita told the older employee to take the afternoon off and go home to take a nap. Juanita regularly refers to this older employee as “Grandma.” After several months, Juanita fires the older employee because she wants to hire someone younger. Juanita believes a younger employee will relate better to the store’s teen customers. Did Juanita discriminate against the older employee?

  1. Yes. Federal law protects workers age 40 or older from job discrimination and harassment based on their age.
  2. No. The federal age discrimination law does not apply to teenage workers, so it is not illegal for Juanita to fire the older employee.
  3. No. As a manager, Juanita has the authority to make decisions about hiring and firing employees.
  4. No. Juanita did not discriminate against the older employee because it is important for a retail store that markets to teenagers to hire workers who are the same age as its customers.