Is using the phrase”OK boomer” in the workplace inappropriate and a sign of ageism?
Many internet debates over the “OK boomer” phrase revolve around whether the expression is offensive or not. But that is not the primary concern when it comes to the workplace. The bigger problem is that the insult is age-related. A federal statute protects workers above 40, called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prevents harassment and discrimination based on age. Remarks related to a worker’s generation are a problem because older workers often suffer adverse employment decisions, such as layoffs or being passed over for promotion. One way to explore if a decision is infected by age discrimination is the surrounding circumstances: comments and behaviour by managers and coworkers.
If a manager said “OK boomer” to an older worker, they seem biased. Even if they tolerate a joke made by an employee and not themselves, it would seem the boss is in on it too. Using the “OK boomer” phrase one time does not legally pass as harassing behaviour. But repeated comments about someone’s age – for example, calling someone “old” and “slow,” “old fart,” or even “pops” – can mean harassment over time, and companies risk age-based harassment claims if they continue with this kind of language.
It depends on the situation and the frequency. Yes, “OK boomer” is an insult. It’s pretty mild, but the intention is to ridicule. The phrase is mainly used to respond to an older guy talking about “back in the old days” kind of stuff. Whether it’s offensive or not depends on your relationship with the person who uses the expression.
Another thing is how often people in the workplace call you that. If it’s a one-time thing meant as a joke, then it’s okay. However, it’s not okay if colleagues constantly comment about your age. It can even turn into harassment over time.
The phrase “ok boomer” is an internet meme that young adults use to mock attitudes associated with baby boomers born in the two decades following world war II. There’s a controversy over this phrase in whether it’s offensive to use it in a workplace or not. The point is that many people consider it an age-related insult. Since the older employees are under the protection of a federal statute known as “the age discrimination in employment act,” these terms are considered harassment and discrimination based on age. So, if a colleague or a manager calls the older worker “slow,” “senile,” old fart,” or says something such as “ok boomer,” it is illegal.
I would recommend everyone not to use it. “Okay, boomer” is an insult. Although it’s a very light insult to the speaker, it’s not to the receiver. I mean, it’s intended to hurt. We weren’t allowed to call someone lovely at my previous job since it was considered sexual harassment. If “Okay Boomer” gets popular, it’ll be regarded as ageism. The term was used on me lately in an insulting and unacceptable manner. My reaction? ‘ I said that’s okay. You’re biased toward older folks and like to pretend they’re all stupid or useless.’ In another example, I just said, ‘don’t call me that again,’ while in another, I said nothing.