Age Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination is prohibited against under federal law, as well as state laws throughout the country. While most people assume that illegal discrimination is discrimination that is based on sex, religion, or race, age discrimination is also prohibited. If you are affected by age discrimination, you can take legal action as The Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) forbids it.


What Is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination refers to treating an employee in a different manner based on their age. While this could surely occur to a worker of any age, federal law only protects those workers ages 40 and older from age discrimination.

An employer may discriminate against a person based on their age in a variety of different ways. For example, age discrimination may include:

  • Firing the worker;
  • Refusing to promote the worker;
  • Making offensive or derogatory comments that affect the worker’s employment or environment;
  • Laying off the worker;
  • Denying the worker benefits; or
  • Any other actions that affect the conditions or terms of employment of the worker.

It is also considered age discrimination if a potential employer does not hire an individual due to their age. Additionally, the law prohibits an employer from age discrimination in job assignments and training.


What to Do if You Are Affected by Age Discrimination

If you are affected by age discrimination, you may file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You must file your charge within 180 days for most discrimination claims, but for age-related discrimination, the filing period is extended to 300 days. Federal employees are also protected but have a different complaint process.


Filing a Lawsuit

In many instances, an individual may be asked to attempt to settle the dispute in mediation, a more informal and confidential way to resolve a dispute with a neutral mediator.

In some cases, you can also bring forth a civil action directly against your employer to recoup damages that you have suffered. The laws that will apply to your case for bringing forth a suit vary on a state-by-state basis (Fair Employment Practices Agencies, or FEPAS), so it is important that you consult with an attorney.


Retaliation By An Employer

An employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise “retaliate” against you for filing a charge. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against someone who files a charge or who takes part in an EEOC investigation and/or lawsuit.

If you feel you are being retaliated against, you must bring this to your attorney’s attention immediately. S/he will discuss the situation with you and may add a claim of retaliation to your charge. Strict deadlines also apply if you want to add to a charge.


Napoli Shkolnik Can Help

At the law office of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, our experienced age discrimination attorneys can protect you. If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your age, please contact us today for a free consultation. We do not charge any upfront legal fees and we only recover money if we win your case.