Age shouldn’t be a factor in most job situations. It is true that some jobs, including those that involve serving alcohol, can’t be given to people who are too young. Besides instances in which the law requires a person to be within a specific age group, there isn’t any good reason for employers to think of age when they hire employees.
There are some instances in which age discrimination runs afoul of the law. These are very specific and are covered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Here are some points to remember about this employment issue:
Age does matter
The ADEA only covers employees who are 40 years old or older at the time of the discriminatory act. People who are younger than this can’t make claims under this act. It is important for employers to understand the importance of bypassing age as a factor in employment decisions.
Another point to remember about this act is that it is meant for employers who have 20 or more employees. Government entities, labor organizations and employment agencies are also covered.
Forms of age discrimination
Any adverse employment action that is taken based solely on the fact that someone is 40 or older is considered age discrimination. This can mean failing to hire people or promote them to a new position. It can also include moving them to a less desirable shift or location due to this factor. Offering older workers fewer or different benefits can also fall under age discrimination. Even retaliatory actions are forbidden by the ADEA.
Many employers overlook the benefits of having these older employees on their team. They can often bring experience and a solid work ethic to the company, which is a good model for the younger employees. There are many reasons why companies might be discriminatory toward older workers, such as the thought they will need more time off of work for medical care or that they will cost more to insure. However, none of these are valid.
If you are over 40 and have faced age discrimination at work, you might opt to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is often the first step in getting the situation rectified. Filing complaints through the grievance system the employer has in place may also help. You might choose to take further action, depending on the outcome of the EEOC’s investigation.