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When Older Workers' Performance Declines

April 28, 1999
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Related Topics: Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Performance Appraisals, Featured Article
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If the performance of an older employee declines over time, do you have to keep them on?

The short answer is no. The ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) does not require that you keep the employee at the organization. The law only states that you judge the employee in his or her performance and ability, not age.

If the employee's performance is slipping, you should keep evidence that the decline is significant and has taken place over an extended period. Some related tips:

  • Documentation could include appraisals, warnings and discipline.
  • Keep records on all employees, not just "problem" employees.
  • A good rule of thumb is that any change, including a firing, shouldn't be a surprise to an employee. They should be in the loop.

SOURCE: Bureau of Business Practice, Waterford, CT, 1998.

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