Age discrimination is an issue when employees over the age of 40 experience unfair treatment on the job based specifically on age. Such treatment is illegal and there are laws in place, federal and state, to protect your right to work.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination at the federal level. The Act applies to companies with 15 or more employees and requires that employers refrain from singling out workers over the age of 40 in the terms and conditions of employment as well as in job advertisements.
The state of California addresses age discrimination in the Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA). Like the ADEA, the FEHA prohibits age discrimination for workers over the age of 40 in all areas of employment, but, unlike the ADEA, extends coverage to employers with five or more full-time or part-time workers.
Both federal and state law provide remedies for retaliation based on age discrimination as well. The ADEA and the FEHA make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who file age discrimination complaints or charges or who participate in age discrimination court proceedings.
Examples of Age Discrimination
Illegal Early Retirement Deals
Early retirement deals, also known as golden handshakes, are not always legitimate. When an employer bases these deals on the age of a worker over 40, with no other legitimate business reason, a violation of federal and state age discrimination law has occurred.
Illegal Employee Replacement
Employers commonly refresh the labor force by replacing workers on a routine basis. However, when an employee over the age of 40 can prove a replacement occurred specifically in order to hire or promote a younger employee, he or she could have a case for age discrimination under both state and federal law.
Illegal Wage Determinations
Violations of age discrimination laws can occur with any aspect of employment. Particularly, with wages and salaries, an employer must not make unfair wage determinations based on the over 40 status of a worker. For instance, an employer may be liable for age discrimiation when it uses age to determine that an older worker with higher pay due to seniority should be replaced with a younger worker with less seniority.
Inequality in Job Benefits
In addition to the ADEA, workers also have federal protection against age discrimination via the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. The Act requires employers to treat older and younger employees equally in terms of the scope and amount of of benefits received. Though employers may be tempted to spend less on benefits for older workers or offer less coverage than younger workers, both these actions are prohibited by federal law.
Our employment division can handle workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour disputes, and class action.