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Can I sue my employer for damages/harassment?

Ithaca, NY |

My boss always calls me a Stupid Old Fart. He is 33, I am 56. I always ask him not to call me that, but he does anyway. Usually it doesn't bother me, but lately it has really been stressing me out and making work miserable. Is there any way I can sue him? Or threaten that I will sue him to force him to negotiate a nice severance agreement with me?

Attorney Answers 3


It sounds like you may have a case for age discrimination...maybe. In NY, and I have taken on some of the largest employers in the world for age discrimination and sexual harassment, your boss is permitted to be a jerk but is NOT permitted to discriminate against you because of your age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion and limited other reasons.

The nasty comments may simply be a boss being a jerk or if your hours are assigned differently than those assigned to younger workers (those under 40), your breaks are scheduled differently, your tasks are assigned differently, promotions, over-time or other good things about work are provided differently to you than to those under 40, you may have a case.

Also, I would like to know how many employees there are, how large a company, etc.

If you want to talk, feel free to look me up and call.

Cory Rosenbaum, Esq.,

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You should complain in writing to your supervisor about this conduct. You should follow the procedures for doing so in your employee manual or, if there is none, per workplace policy or past practice. If none, then just a written letter from you to your supervisor or, if you don't have one, to the boss himself. You could have a case for age discrimination if you suffer adverse employment action because of your age or if the harassing conduct rises to the level of a hostile work environment. You should consult with an employment attorney.

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Unfortunately, the language would not likely lead to a successful discrimination claim as the law does not encompass rude behavior, in and of itself. However, if you are also being denied or limited benefits related to the job, or are being passed over for advancement, promotion, or raises, and there is no other valid reason for the same, then it sounds like this Boss may be acting hostile to you due to age and you should consult with a discrimination attorney in your area, where you can speak in private. The consultation should be free.

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