Friendly Banter Between Co-Workers Can Take Ugly Turn

The 2019 viral slang phrase “OK, Boomer,” used by Millennials and GenZs to denote the perceived out-of-touch or close-minded opinions of those of a “certain” age, shone a bright light on a growing generational divide.

As with most internet trends, the shelf life of #OKBoomer was destined to fade relatively quickly, but the sentiment behind the putdown is not one that should be easily dismissed, particularly in the workplace, said John Bosco, a labor, employment and ADA partner with Dallas-based Bailey Brauer PLLC.

“When you have a workforce with employees that span a wide age range extra attention must be paid to the use of words like ‘snowflake’ and phrases such as ‘OK, Boomer,’” said Mr. Bosco. “Where it might actually be friendly banter, it can quickly escalate into a situation that could trigger an age discrimination investigation. Any time workplace conversations center on differences, the language used can easily be seen as demeaning, creating a hostile work environment for targeted employees.”

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