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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Challenge Yourself!

Juanita recently graduated from high school and began working as a manager at a teen clothing store. Juanita regularly called Barbara, a 55 year old employee, "Grandma." At one staff meeting, Juanita gave Barbara a cane as a joke. Another day, Juanita told Barbara to take the afternoon off and go home to take a nap. After several months, Juanita fired Barbara. Juanita believes that a younger employee will relate better to the store's teen customers. Did Juanita discriminate against Barbara?

  1. A is correct.
    If Juanita fired Barbara because of her age, Juanita discriminated against Barbara. It also appears that Juanita harassed Barbara because of her age. It is illegal under federal law to discriminate against or harass employees who are 40 or older because of their age.

    If Juanita fired Barbara because she did not relate well with teen customers, and the store regularly fires employees who do not relate well with customers, regardless of employees' age, then Juanita may not have discriminated against Barbara based on her age when she fired her.

    FUN FACT: Federal law prohibits age discrimination against workers age 40 or older. But some state or local laws protect workers younger than 40 from age discrimination. Does your state or city protect younger workers from age discrimination? Research and find out!

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  2. B is incorrect.
    Federal law does not protect teenage workers from age discrimination in employment. However, it is illegal for managers, supervisors and co-workers, including teenagers, to discriminate against or harass employees who are 40 or older because of their age. If Juanita fired Barbara because of her age, Juanita discriminated against Barbara.

    FUN FACT: Federal law prohibits age discrimination against workers age 40 or older. But some state or local laws protect workers younger than 40 from age discrimination. Does your state or city protect younger workers from age discrimination? Research and find out!

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  3. C is incorrect.

    Although Juanita may be responsible for making decisions about who to hire and fire, it is illegal for her to fire an employee who is 40 or older because she thinks the person is too old.

    If Juanita fired Barbara because she did not relate well with teen customers, and the store regularly fires employees who do not relate well with customers, regardless of employees' age, then Juanita may not have discriminated against Barbara based on her age when she fired her.

    FUN FACT: Federal law prohibits age discrimination against workers age 40 or older. But some state or local laws protect workers younger than 40 from age discrimination. Does your state or city protect younger workers from age discrimination? Research and find out!

    Try again! Select another answer.

  4. D is incorrect.
    Federal law protects people who are 40 years old or older from age discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to make an employment decision, such as a decision about who to hire or fire, based on age or age stereotypes, such as assumptions that older workers won't understand or relate well with younger customers or co-workers.

    It is not illegal for an employer to make a hiring or firing decision, or another employment decision, based on an employee's performance. If a teen clothing store employee did not understand teen clothing trends, or did not relate well with teen customers, then it would not be illegal for the store to fire the employee.

    FUN FACT: Federal law prohibits age discrimination against workers age 40 or older. But some state or local laws protect workers younger than 40 from age discrimination. Does your state or city protect younger workers from age discrimination? Research and find out!

    Try again! Select another answer.