Effects of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law that makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers or job candidates based on their age. The act applies to anyone who is at least 40 years of age and to all employers that run companies with at least 20 employees. While individual states occasionally have age discrimination laws that could apply some even more strict guidelines, the ADEA is the main piece of legislation that deals with age discrimination on a national level and is a good guideline for employee rights dealing with age in every state.
However, not every age-based decision made by employees is an ADEA violation. A couple common examples of exceptions to the ADEA include:
- Decisions made due to reasonable factors other than age (RFOAs). For example, an older worker could be fired in favor of a younger worker without it being discrimination if that younger worker had more training and education relevant to the position.
- Bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQs). In some situations, it is necessary for employers to treat workers differently based on their age because the older worker may no longer be able to safely perform their job. This is likely to be a situation in jobs that require heavy lifting or the operation of difficult, precise machinery.
Even if your employer has you sign a waiver saying you will not sue them if they fire you, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are exempt from ADEA lawsuits. That waiver must be easy to understand, specifically waive ADEA lawsuits, advise you to discuss the issue with an attorney before signature and give you at least three weeks to consider the waiver.
For more information on the ADEA and its impact on employment law, contact the dedicated New York age discrimination attorneys with the Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC.