Lawsuit Accuses Video Game Demonstration Company of Age Discrimination
It is no secret that video games have become popular with people of all ages – whether on a phone, console, or personal computer, video games have become a popular pastime. Nevertheless, despite the acknowledged cross-generational appeal of video games, one video game marketing company has been accused of age discrimination.
According to a lawsuit recently filed in Missouri, Mosaic Sales Solutions US Operating Company – a company that demonstrates Microsoft video game products – requires all job applicants to submit a photograph with their applications and will not hire applicants who do not reflect a particular “Kinect and Xbox image.” The lead plaintiff in the suit alleges she was hired by Mosaic as a Microsoft product demonstrator in October 2010 when she was over 40 years old. Her offer of employment was rescinded after Mosaic received her picture.
The lawsuit claims that Mosaic had a written policy requiring that all product demonstrators have a “‘favorite camp counselor’ youthful…personality.” In addition, Mosaic allegedly directed its territory managers to favor applicants from “Generation Y,” which the company defined as those born between the early 1970s and early 1990s. Anyone over the age of 40 was, in effect, unsuitable for employment.
The suit seeks punitive damages under the Missouri Human Rights Act for all those who were not hired due to age.
Protections Offered by the Missouri Human Rights Act and Federal Law
The Missouri Human Rights Act protects both employees and job applicants between the ages of 40 and 70 from discrimination by employers based purely on age. Specifically, the Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a person because of his age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment. This includes hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, benefits, layoffs, job assignments and training.
Generally, employers may not include age limitations or preferences in job listings. In some cases, however, an employer may specify an age limit where they are able to demonstrate that it is a “bona fide occupational qualification” – in other words, that it is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the business. In most cases, this is difficult to prove.
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) offers similar protections to the Missouri Human Rights Act. Specifically, the ADEA prohibits the statement of age preferences in job listings, discrimination on the basis of age in apprenticeship programs and the denial of benefits to older employees.
If you or someone you love has suffered discrimination in the workplace, contact an experienced employment attorney. An employment attorney can assess your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.