August 25, 2019

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Age Discrimination


Age discrimination is prohibited by federal law. Many states also have their own age discrimination laws and some offer protections not provided by federal law. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees and job applicants who are 40 years old or older from age discrimination and harassment. Some state age discrimination laws protect workers of all ages.

Federal Age Discrimination Protection

The ADEA protects workers 40 and over from discrimination in every aspect of employment, but if both employees or applicants are 40 or older, it does not prohibit favoring the older person over the younger one. Examples of aspects of employment covered include:

  • Hiring
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Training
  • Promotions
  • Assignments
  • Layoffs
  • Firing

Federal Age Harassment Protection

The ADEA also protects against harassment based on age, and this protection applies not only to harassment by employers, supervisors and co-workers but also harassment by non-employees such as customers or clients.

ADEA Limitations

The ADEA does not cover all types of workers, nor does it apply to all employers. It applies to:

  • Employers with at least 20 employees
  • Employment agencies
  • Labor organizations
  • Federal government
  • State and local governments

You State Law May Offer More Protection

If you believe that you have been a victim of age discrimination, but are not covered by federal anti-discrimination laws, you may still have a claim in your state. Some states protect workers of all ages from age discrimination, including discrimination for being young. In many states, age discrimination laws apply to employers with fewer than 20 employees.

If you have been a victim of age discrimination or harassment in the workplace, contact us to be connected with an experienced employment law attorney in your state.