Age-discrimination is not uncommon and can occur whether a person is already employed by a company or is interviewing for a job. The Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) was enacted in 1967 prohibiting employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older.
Here are some examples of age discrimination and what you can do to protect your rights as an employee.
Examples of Age Discrimination in the Workplace
Not Hiring Due to Age
Being Laid Off Due to Age
Forcing an Employee to Take Early Retirement
Reducing or Denying Certain Benefits
If a qualified candidate is not hired exclusively due to their age, this would be considered discrimination. The age consideration has to be the determinative factor behind the refusal to hire. Some job postings may include an “ideal age range,” but this has to be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) or it is illegal. Age considerations are rarely that obvious, however. If you believe age was the reason you were not hired, based on comments during the interview or applications process, or obvious differences in qualifications between you and the much younger candidate, contact an employment attorney who can help you review and evaluate those circumstances.
Companies legitimately go through periods where they have to lay off employees due to business needs such as a downsizing of an organization. A lay off may also be viewed by the employer as cover for targeting you because of your age. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated due to your age, contact an employee rights attorney immediately.
Another common example of age discrimination is a company forcing an employee to retire early. Generally, there is no forced retirement age. However, it is legal for business owners to offer incentive packages for employees that are getting close to retirement age to leave the company.
In 1990, Congress passed the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). This act requires employers to pay the same amount for each benefit provided to an older worker that is paid to a younger worker. The benefits cover such areas as:
- Life Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Retirement Benefits
The OWBPA does have some exceptions that can be complex. This may include a situation where the older worker receives other benefits from the government or the employer makes up the difference in coverage. An experienced employment law attorney deals with age discrimination cases and can help clients determine if they have a claim.
Being Retaliated Against Because a Claim was Filed
If you took action and filed a claim under the ADEA, employers cannot retaliate against you. Retaliation may include a forced retirement, a demotion, a reduction in benefits, or even being fired. Also, if an employer creates what is called a hostile work environment that in essence forces you to quit, this could be considered constructive discharge.
Harassment Due to Age
Unfortunately, just like sexism and racism — ageism exists. Employers and managers who single out a specific employee or certain staff members based on their age to harass or demean must be stopped and held accountable for their illegal actions. This kind of behavior not only affects morale and productivity —it is also a violation of your rights.
Were you the victim of age-based discrimination? Contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. today and find out where you stand with your case. Our founders are industry-respected and possess a track record of success in handling complex employment law disputes.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. We’re the employee’s law firm— a tireless legal team fighting for your rights.