As has been suggested from the beginning, COVID-related risks are amplified for individuals over a certain age or with underlying health issues—and these risk factors/categories often overlap. Over the course of the pandemic, many businesses have been forced to reduce their workforce and cut other costs. This has disproportionally affected workers who fit one or both categories—based, in part, on demographics but also implicit biases. As a result, trends suggest an impending uptick in age- and disability-based discrimination litigation.
Business Takeaway: Businesses continue to struggle during the pandemic, and critical labor and employment questions remain unanswered. However, that is no defense against violations of existing protections. For businesses contemplating layoffs, engage legal counsel to discern and analyze any unfavorable trends (e.g., an overrepresentation of laid-off employees who are 40+). Contact Mark at 414-446-8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about discriminatory layoff practices.