Corporate Ageism



The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age & older from discrimination on the basis of Age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment. While the law was passed long ago, the problems it was created to address unfortunately still exist: Ageism is still much too common in the workplace.

According to the ADEA, the following actions are unlawful:

  • An employer can't decide whether or not to hire applicants because of their age. And, cannot discriminate based on this factor when recruiting job candidates, advertising for a job, or testing applicants.
  • A company can't fire workers because of their age.
  • An employer can't use age to classify, segregate, or limit employees if this will negatively affect their status or deprive them of advancement opportunities.
  • Workers' pay can't be based on age.
  • An employer may only take age into account when making an employment-related decision if it is in regard to an authentic qualification necessary for the business's operation.
  • One's manager, a supervisor in another area, a coworker, or client is forbidden from creating a hostile work environment by harassing individuals about their age.
  • An employer cannot enact any policy that negatively impacts employees or applicants because of their age and is not based on another reasonable factor.
  • An amendment to the ADEA, The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act forbids organizations from using age to determine benefits and targeting older workers when making staff cuts. It also requires employers to follow specific safeguards when asking older workers to sign a waiver giving up their right to sue for age discrimination.

If you think you have been discriminated against in the workplace:

  1. Talk with a Supervisor.
  2. Keep a Log - Document comments and actions and keep records such as emails. But do not record conversations secretly (they are protected by state laws or company policies)
  3. Lodge a complaint with Human Resources.
  4. Get an Attorney.
  5. Submit an Inquiry with the EEOC.
  6. File a Lawsuit if you have exhausted all of the above.

If you want to file a claim with  the Age Discrimination in Employment Act., Go to the EEOC Public Portal, submit an inquiry, or schedule an appointment at any EEOC field office. You can also visit any office without making an appointment. OR call 1-800-669-4000 to discuss your case with an EEOC representative who can advise you of your rights under the ADEA.

There is a time limit of 180 calendar days for employees. It is extended to 300 days if your state has an age discrimination law and an agency or authority that enforces it.  Job applicants must file a claim within 45 days.   However, you can only file a claim online or in person. Be sure to have documentation that supports your claim, including the names of any individuals who witnessed it individuals who witnessed it.

Ageism unfairly hinders older workers’ ability to stay competitive in a rapidly changing job market. Gone are the days where people could stay at the same job into retirement.  A recent survey found that people born in the latter years of the Baby Boom generation held an average of 12 jobs from ages 18 to 50.  Nearly half of Americans 55 or older don’t have enough money saved to retire. Others find happiness and fulfillment in continuing to work past retirement age.

Whatever the reason for continued work past age 65, older workers are at a disadvantage compared to their younger counterparts. An AARP study found that only about two-thirds of older workers aged 45 to 74 say "they have seen or experienced discrimination in the workforce". Do not become a statistic. Stand up for your rights - Retire when you want to, not because you were forced to.

More on Hostile Work Environments Here!

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