Partner Dahlia Rudavsky Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on “OK, Boomer” in the Workplace
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently published an article about the legal implications of using the catchphrase “OK, Boomer” in the workplace. “OK, Boomer” gained popularity online in 2019 as a retort to outdated attitudes stereotypically attributed to the Baby Boomer generation, currently ages 55 to 73 years old. “Jokes” within the workplace sometimes reveal negative stereotypes, and Lawyers’ Weekly asked a number of lawyers if “OK, Boomer” comments would potentially lead to discrimination lawsuits.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers ages 40 and above from age-based harassment and discrimination. Discrimination lawsuits generally rely on the context and behavior of individuals in the work environment as evidence of whether an adverse action (such as discipline or a termination) resulted from discrimination.
MRW partner Dahlia Rudavsky answered Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s query, saying that though “‘OK, Boomer’ may indicate a negative stereotype… [it is not] so disparaging as to be actionable standing alone. However, if used by a decision-maker (or heard by and tolerated by a decision-maker) and paired with an adverse action—such as a layoff or demotion—it might suggest that the decision was motivated by age discrimination.” Whether use of the now popular catchphrase “OK, Boomer” in the workplace will have legal implications remains to be seen.