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Why saying 'OK boomer' at work could be age discrimination

Indiana residents may have heard that some Generation Zers and millennials are using the term "OK boomer" to dismiss certain retrograde opinions of baby boomers. The baby boomer generation includes Americans between the ages of 55 and 73. The term got its start online, but it's now migrating to real life. It was even used by a lawmaker in New Zealand to put down an older legislator when discussing climate change.

While some may feel like the use of this term is innocent, it may actually be evidence of discrimination, especially in a person's place of employment. The problem has to do with the fact that the insult is age-related. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act guards workers who are age 40 and older by prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on age.

When comments are made regarding a worker's age, they can be problematic. Older workers often deal with employment decisions that affect them in a negative way, like being passed over for a promotion. The biggest telltale sign that an older individual is facing age discrimination is the behavior and comments made by managers and co-workers. Saying "OK, boomer" to an older individual during a work presentation could indicate that management was biased.

Baby boomers and Generation Xers who are over 40 years of age are protected by federal age discrimination law. An individual who feels like they have been laid off or passed over for a promotion because of age discrimination may wish to speak with an attorney. Legal counsel could examine the circumstances and help a client determine if they have a case. They may also be able to provide practical assistance, like filling out the proper paperwork and filing a claim.

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