Age discrimination at the workplace.
You are over 40 and you feel that your employer treats you less favorably than other workers? Or you are applying for a new job and you are 100% sure that you match all the requirements but a much younger applicant got the position? Unfortunately, it is a really common thing to happen nowadays. Don’t worry. People who are age 40 and older are protected from employment discrimination based on age by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. This federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employers and applicants who are 40 years of age and older based on their age.
Age discrimination is unlawful in any phase of employment including job postings and descriptions, interviews, hiring, salaries, job assignments, performance management and evaluation, training, disciplinary actions, promotions, demotions, benefits, employment termination, and layoffs and any other term or condition of employment. There is an exception though. The employer can specify the age requirement for an applicant if he can prove that that age is a reasonable question essential to the operation of the business.
Other important provisions of the ADEA:
- An employer cannot reduce health or life insurance benefits for older employees.
- Employers may not discriminate against older workers when reducing the size of the workforce.
- Employers may not force employees to take early retirement.
- Workers who take action under the ADEA cannot be discriminated against for filing, testifying at, or participating in a claim against an employer.
- An amendment to the ADEA, The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act forbids organizations from using age to determine benefits and targeting older workers when making staff cuts. Employers have to follow specific safeguards when asking older workers to sign a waiver giving up their right to sue for age discrimination.
- Employer is forbidden from creating a hostile work environment by harassing individuals about their age.
- Workers’ pay can’t be based on age.
Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether employer’s behavior and actions were based on age discrimination, it can be also difficult to prove it. However, there are extensive complaint and fact-finding procedures so that employees can determine when they have been victims of discrimination and assert their rights. Federal and state laws are on the side of employees.
If you feel that you were mistreated at work because of your age, please contact our employment law attorneys and get a free consultation.