Age Discrimination: When Older Employees are Pushed Out
Discrimination based on age is a huge problem in many workplaces. Older employees may be forced into early retirement or see their responsibilities or wages reduced based on their age. Additionally, many older job applicants have greater difficulty securing employment due to their age. Although this form of discrimination can sometimes be difficult to prove, older workers do have rights.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, workers and job applicants age 40 and above are protected from discrimination based on their age. This includes all aspects of employment, from hiring to promotions to terminations. For instance, if an employer chooses a younger applicant based entirely on his or her age, the older applicant may make a claim for age discrimination.
Employers may not use age as a basis for employment. For instance, they may not mention age in job advertisements, set age limits for employee training or force an employee into retirement due to his or her age. Additionally, apart from direct discrimination, employers may not create policies that have what is known as a “disparate impact” on older workers unless they can prove that these policies are based on a reasonable factor unrelated to age. This prevents employers from adopting policies that are seemingly neutral on surface level but in fact designed to negatively impact older employees at much higher rates. For example, an employer may not create a policy that punishes employees with too many years of experience.
Age discrimination is a pervasive problem when it comes to employment. Older workers often face greater hurdles in landing employment and may find themselves passed over for job promotions in favor of younger employees. One of the reasons for this is due to the salary that older workers can command based on their years of experience. Younger workers tend to come cheaper and employers may illegally try to discriminate against older employees in order to keep their costs down.
If you believe you have been the victim of age discrimination in the workplace, the knowledgeable employment law attorneys at Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York can help.