Age Discrimination Law
By Aaron Larson
Notice: Please note that this is only an introduction to age discrimination law. If you believe yourself to be a victim of age discrimination, please consult with an attorney to have your claim fully evaluated.
If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination due to your age, you may be able to secure relief under state or federal law. Please note, however, that age discrimination protections are based upon allegations that an employee or applicant suffered discrimination for being "too old for the job". It is ordinarily legal to discriminate on the basis that somebody is "too young for the job".
The ADEA also extends protections to employees, against retaliation for filing age discrimination charges, for participating in an investigation or litigation under the ADEA, or for testifying in related proceedings.
If you are forty years of age or older, and the employer engaging in discrimination has twenty or more employees, you may be able to obtain relief under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The conduct of smaller employers may be regulated by similar state anti-age discrimination laws. Anti-discrimination protections typically apply to both job applicants and to employees at any stage of employment, including the initial hiring decision, promotions, layoffs or "RIF's", compensation, benefits, job assignments, training, or termination of employment.
An employer may lawfully request a date of birth with an application, but if that information is not necessary to the employer, such inquiries may lend support to an age discrimination claim. Depending upon the jurisdiciton, it may also be possible for an employer to lawfully discharge workers as a age-neutral "cost cutting measure", even if the net result is that older workers are replaced by less costly younger workers.
An employer can, under certain circumstances, ask that an employee waive his or her rights under the ADEA. If an employer makes this request, most employees will benefit from consulting with an attorney about their situation, their legal rights, and the consequences of signing a waiver.
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