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40 years young: Protection from age discrimination

People over 40 years of age in Nevada who have been in the workforce are usually aware of the issue of age discrimination. Although often illegal, that does not mean it does not occur. Rather, because it is illegal, there are remedies for workers whose employers discriminate against them.

In simplest terms, when the employer (or an employee of the employer) treats an employee or job applicant less favorably than others because of age, this is age discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits certain acts of age discrimination.

The magic year of 40

If the employee is at least 40 years old, such treatment may be actionable. However, the law does allow the employer to treat the older employee more favorably than the younger, but not the opposite. Only unfavorable treatment is taboo.

The employer can even treat a 50-year-old employee more favorably than a 49-year-old employee based on his more advanced age. Thus, the 49-year-old employee can suffer discrimination because of his age in this area, but only because he is younger than another employee.

Areas of discrimination

The typical areas in which an employer may receive an accusation of discrimination include:

  • Compensation
  • Terms of employment
  • Hiring
  • Firing or laying off
  • Promotion
  • Conditions in the employment setting

It is also illegal to harass an employee due to his or her age.

Age-based harassment

What constitutes harassment is not black and white, and each situation depends on its own facts and details.

Simple teasing or the remote comment may not amount to harassment. However, if it is very often or is of such a caliber that creates hostility or would be reasonably offensive, it may rise to an unacceptable level and amount to harassment. Significantly, it is possible for the perpetrator of the age discrimination or harassment to be over 40, which would still be illegal so long as his or her victim is over 40.

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