Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, and is enforced by the Civil Rights Center and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For individuals over 40 who have been discriminated against because of their age, it’s important to know about the age discrimination laws, how to identify age discrimination in the workplace and what to do about it.
What is Age Discrimination?
Employers who make decisions regarding applicants or employees over 40 years of age using their age as a basis, it is considered age discrimination. There are many different ways discrimination can happen and a few examples of age discrimination include:
- A company needs to lay off several individuals so the supervisors lay off the eldest of the employees – they are the ones who most likely draw the highest salaries.
- A company turns down a qualified older person for a position; instead giving it to a younger individual with the same qualifications.
- A company states a preference regarding the age of their employees in advertisements in an effort to keep their company image youthful and fresh.
Identifying Age Discrimination in the Workplace
It can be difficult to determine whether you’ve been the victim of age discrimination in the workplace. There are subtle signs of age discrimination cases and there are more blatant types of discrimination. According to the ADEA, an employer with at least 20 employees is unable to refuse to hire, promote or fire a person based on age. A few examples of prohibited behavior include:
- An employer cannot use an employee’s age to make decisions about hiring, salary, promotion, layoff or termination.
- Most employers cannot make employees retire at a certain age.
- Employers cannot advertise a preference in age of employees.
- Employers cannot take action against an employee who files a complaint for age discrimination.
If any of these things have happened to you, you may have the basis for a lawsuit or complaint against the employer. Consult your case for free with an age discrimination lawyer.
Documenting Incidents - It’s quite important that you document the incidents so that you have a record of the discrimination as well as who was involved and any witnesses that may have been involved. Documenting can help with later complaints and lawsuits as well. If there is any proof of the discrimination, this should be saved as well.
Filing an Age Discrimination Complaint
Individuals who have experienced age discrimination in employment have the right to file a complaint with the EEOC or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC investigates all age discrimination lawsuits. They will also get back to individuals to tell them what action they can take against the discriminating employer. Individuals may also consider filing a complaint with the company. Check the company policies on discrimination regarding age.
You may also be able to take legal action against an employer for age discrimination. One of the best moves to take is to have a free consultation with an attorney who specializes in discrimination. He or she can tell you whether you have a legitimate claim against the employer and whether you have enough proof to get a conviction. The attorney can also help you determine which steps to take next in order to seek justice for the pain you’ve suffered.