An Overview of Age Harassment in the Massachusetts Workplace

What are grounds for filing claims against your Massachusetts employer for age discrimination?

Federal and Massachusetts law both prohibit harassment based upon age. As a top employment law firm in Massachusetts, Steffans Legal is experienced in the complexities presented by age harassment claims and has handled those types of claims across Massachusetts, including in Berkshire County, Springfield, Worcester, Lawrence, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, and the Cape. We have offices conveniently located in each of these regions in order to better serve or clients.

The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits employers from harassing employees based upon their age. So does the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.  Regardless of the statute, to succeed on an age harassment claim, an employee must demonstrate that the harassment he or she is facing is related to age, is unwelcome, is objectively and subjectively offensive, and that it is severe and pervasive. The most powerful way to establish an age harassment claim is through evidence that directly shows harassing intent. This type of evidence typically takes the form of derogatory comments made by a supervisor about someone’s age. In our experience at Steffans Legal, age harassment is far less common than racial, gender, sexual, and religious harassment.   

To succeed on an age harassment claim, employees do not need to establish that they were terminated because of their age or that they received a demotion or were disciplined because of their age. That’s only a requirement of an age discrimination claim.

Hostile work environment claims based upon age-related harassment follow the same analysis set forth above relative to harassment claims. In other words, in this context, ‘hostile work environment’ is synonymous with harassment.

Unfortunately, bullying is not unlawful unless it is directed at you because of your age, or because of some other protected characteristic. In other words, your boss does not have to be nice to you. In fact, he or she can be quite mean.  He or she just can’t be mean to you because of your age or due to some other protected characteristic.

In 2015, employment attorney Ben Steffans successfully represented an individual who was suffering from age-related harassment. Click here to learn more about that case and to read that client’s endorsement of our services.

Do you live in Springfield, Pittsfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, the Cape, or New Bedford? Are you being harassed because of your age?