3 Important Elements Of Age Discrimination Protection

As you get older, you may face more challenges in the workplace. Sadly, it is common in many industries in the United States for workplaces to discriminate against older workers. Luckily, this is not a legal practice due to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) as well as the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA). Both of these acts, combined with laws in most states, provide a wide variety of legal protection for older workers in the workplace.

#1 Age Discrimination Laws Protect Employees & Job Applicants

You need to understand what type of protection federal and state laws provide for an individual. Age discrimination laws are in place not just to protect individuals who already hold a job; they are in place to protect job applicants as well. That means that workplaces cannot discriminate against current employees, nor can they discriminate against people because of their age when they go through the hiring process. These laws are in place to help people have a fair chance to retain jobs and find jobs.

#2 Age Discrimination Is for Older Workers

It is true that age discrimination is not just something that older workers experience; younger workers are also often discriminated against in different industries. However, age discrimination laws are for individuals who are over the age of forty.

More specifically, the law is only designed to protect someone from being discriminated against for advanced age, not for being too young, even if that discrimination happens against workers who are over forty. For example, if a workplace were to favor workers in their 60s, workers in their 40s and 50s could not press for discrimination charges. However, if a workplace were to discriminate against a group of workers in their 40s and 50s, favoring workers in their 30s, the older workers could pursue legal recourse for the discrimination and would be protected under current federal law. 

#3 Age Discrimination Protection Depends on Workplace Size

Finally, it is important to understand that federal workplace laws are designed to apply to workplaces of a certain size. A workplace must have at least 20 workers to qualify and fall under age discrimination federal law. Ironically, state employee's protection under federal law is also limited.

Some states have extended protection to smaller businesses via state laws. This protection can vary greatly, which is why one needs to investigate the laws of their state.  

Age discrimination lawsuits often require extensive documentation to prove and require someone who understands the nuances of the law for successful prosecutions. If you think you are a victim of discrimination based on age in the workplace, be sure to reach out an age discrimination law attorney for assistance.