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Many older workers in Tennessee acknowledge the existence of age discrimination. Although proving that employers hold prejudices against older people presents challenges, a 54-year-old male employee of IKEA has gone forward with a lawsuit against the home furnishings company. His lawsuit cites federal age discrimination law, and he seeks relief for himself and a proposed class of older employees at the company.

According to his court filings, IKEA specifically recruits young workers and grooms them for future management positions. Existing employees, like himself, who have strong performance records face rejection when seeking promotions to managerial positions. He alleges that the company ignored his repeated applications for promotions.

The plaintiff maintains that IKEA has blocked advancement opportunities for all of its older hourly employees. Tactics used by the company to fill positions include low work experience requirements and outreach efforts to recent college graduates. The man’s lawsuit alleges that the company’s practices create a disparate impact upon a class of workers and violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. IKEA chose not to provide a specific statement related to the active litigation.

A person confronted by mistreatment at work that appears motivated by prejudices based on age, gender, race, disability or religion may want to talk to an attorney. A legal consultation might provide clarity about workplace rights. If evidence strongly suggests workplace discrimination, then an attorney may communicate the complaint to the employer or make a formal complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This effort might open discussions to resolve the conflict with alterations to workplace policies or payment of a settlement to the person. If a case advances to the courtroom, then an attorney may explain the evidence to a jury.

Source: Bloomberg, “IKEA Accused of Systemic Bias Against Older Workers“, March 13, 2019