Federal and state laws work to prevent employers from using a worker’s age as the foundation for making employment decisions, when the worker is at least over the age of 40. For instance, employers cannot limit their job search to young applicants because they believe that hiring a young person will mean paying him or her less money than an older person. Additionally, it is also unlawful for employers to discourage older workers from seeking training programs and promotions.
Unfortunately, there are many forms of age discrimination that can occur in the workplace. If you or someone you know was discriminated against in the workplace, it is important to know what laws work to protect employee rights.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act – A Federal Law
In 1967, Congress passed a law called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This law works to prevent employers from being prejudiced against older workers. During this time, it was common for employers to make their employees retire once a certain age was reached, without regard to the worker’s special abilities or skills. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act changed the employment landscape to shield workers from these types of baseless decisions.
It is important to note that the law only applies to employers or companies that have a minimum of 20 employees. In general, the law protects employees over the age of 40 from the following:
- Being discharged or fired because of age
- Being compensated a certain amount because of age
- Having certain conditions, terms, or privileges in the employment
- Discrimination in provision of benefits is also unlawful
The Fair Employment and Housing Act
The State of California has also enacted a law that works to prevent age discrimination in the workplace. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees who are over the age of 40 are protected from workplace discrimination. The protections offered here are very similar to those offered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act but will also apply to employers with fewer workers.
Filing a Claim for Age Discrimination
Filing a claim for age discrimination in California can oftentimes be a complicated process. If you have reason to believe that you have been discriminated against because of your age, consider speaking to a knowledgeable attorney. Before filing a lawsuit, it is critical to submit a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or California’s Fair Employment and Housing. You should know that there are strict deadlines for filing a claim, therefore, it is important to file a claim as soon as possible. Contact a well-versed employment attorney for more information.