Age Discrimination

As the population grows older, age discrimination is becoming more prevalent. The basic definition of age discrimination is treating an employee or job applicant unfavorably due solely to their age.

Although both elderly and young people can face discrimination in the workplace, state and federal laws prohibiting age discrimination only recognize discrimination for employees and job applicants over the age of 40. The laws apply to people working in organizations (both for-profit and non-profits), in employment agencies and as civil servants in city, state and federal government positions. The age discrimination laws do not apply if you are an independent contractor, elected official or military personnel.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from basing any part of the employment process on your age. These processes include the job advertisement, application, interview, hiring, salary, benefits, training, work duties, discipline, promotions, raises, layoffs, and termination. It is unlawful to place age limitations in advertisement or for training or apprenticeship programs except in rare situations in which age is a factor such as joining the police force. Employers cannot force early retirement on older workers, require people to retire at a certain age, or reduce or deny health benefits for older employees. It is also a violation to use company-wide layoffs to get rid of the older employees. The ADEA also protects against harassment in the workplace due to age. Harassment can be obscene or offensive comments made about a person's age. If you file a complaint of age discrimination or participate in a government investigation about age discrimination, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you.

You should be aware that the laws do not prohibit asking employees or job applicants their age or date of birth. However, these questions must be asked for legal purposes only such as determining if a person is eligible for Medicare.

If you feel you have been a victim of employment discrimination due to your age, you can file a complaint with your company, the EEOC and/or file a lawsuit. It is sometimes difficult to prove you have been the victim of age discrimination or if the employer thought someone else could do the job better. If you decide to sue, it's important to hire a lawyer who has a track record of handling these cases successfully. 

Yarian and Associates, has the knowledge and experience you need in an age discrimination attorney. Contact our office today to set up an appointment so that we can help you protect your rights.

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