Victim of age discrimination? Two steps towards resolution.

Age discrimination is illegal. This article provides options for legal relief.

In 1967, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Unfortunately, even though the law is over four decades old violations are not uncommon. Workers throughout the country find themselves facing blatant discrimination from employers based solely on their age. Instead of recognizing the experience and value age brings, some employers prefer to refresh their workforce with younger, less expensive employees.

Those that find themselves in this position have options. This piece is designed to help in two ways. First, it will provide those who may be the victims of age discrimination with basic information about potential violations. Second, it will discuss two steps towards resolution and potential remedies.

Goal #1: The basics of age discrimination

ADEA makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against those aged 40 or over. Discrimination can occur in any aspect of employment. Examples include hiring, termination of employment, promotions and other issues regarding pay and the award of benefits as well as job assignments.

Common questions victims ask include:

  • When does ADEA apply? ADEA generally applies to employers with 20 or more employees as well as government agencies. It is also important to note ADEA is a federal law. Additional state protections are also available and may apply to employers with less than 20 employees.
  • What about harassment? It is also illegal to harass an employee based on their age. Examples of harassment include negative remarks about the individual's age that extend beyond simple teasing. Such comments must be frequent, severe and result in a hostile work environment.

But what should you do if you feel that a younger, less experienced employee received a promotion that should have been yours? It is often wise to take the matter seriously. An attorney experienced in age discrimination matters can provide legal counsel on your options in your specific situation.

Goal #2: Resolution options for victims of age discrimination

In many cases, victims may pursue these two options when faced with a discriminatory workplace:

  • File a complaint with the human resources department. in most cases, that should result in an investigation. If the results of the investigation are not satisfactory, you can move on to the next step.
  • File a complaint with the United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. This federal agency can further investigate and penalize the employer if the allegation of discrimination is substantiated.

If successful, variously go remedies could apply. This can include reinstatement to a position if the age discrimination resulted in termination as well as monetary awards.