Age discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer considers an employee’s age fully or partially when making employment-based decisions if the employee is at least 40 years old. This type of discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
Under the ADEA, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against individuals who are 40 years of age or older in any aspect of employment, including:
- Job assignments
Other terms and conditions of employment might also become the focal point of age discrimination if the employee’s age determines how they’re treated.
Forms of age discrimination
There are many different forms of age discrimination. They include the following:
- Explicit age-based preferences: An employer explicitly states that they prefer to hire younger or older workers or imposes age limits on job applicants.
- Disparate treatment: An employer treats older workers differently than younger workers by providing them with fewer opportunities for advancement, training or benefits.
- Disparate impact: An employer’s policies or practices, although neutral on their face, disproportionately affect older workers in a negative way, and the employer cannot demonstrate that the policies or practices are based on a reasonable factor other than age.
- Harassment: Older employees are subjected to offensive or derogatory remarks, jokes or actions based on their age, creating a hostile or offensive work environment.
- Retaliation: An employer takes adverse action against an employee because they filed an age discrimination complaint or participated in an investigation or lawsuit related to age discrimination.
Employees who are subjected to age discrimination should speak up. If that doesn’t help, it may be necessary to take legal action against your employer. Find out what your legal options are.