he “baby boomers” are reaching the elderly stage of their lives and continue to be healthy and continue to make strong contributions to our work force. However, ongoing stereotypes dealing with age continue and work to undermine the value of elderly workers. In addition, many companies are willing to pay younger and less experienced workers much less than their more experienced elderly counterparts and going as far as to terminating elderly workers just before they reach the time period for their retirement benefits to vest. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides the following guidance regarding Age Discrimination.
Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states do have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination.
It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older.
Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.
Age Discrimination & Work Situations
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
Age Discrimination & Harassment
It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.
Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s age. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).
The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
Age Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices
An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA).