June 13, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The purpose of the ADEA was to protect workers aged 40 or older. Employees of businesses with 20 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor organizations and the federal government are all covered under the ADEA.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that more than 40% of the Civilian US Labor Force in 2017 was age 45 or older. So why is age discrimination still an issue? Older employees are often portrayed as behind the times when it comes to working with technology and working in general. While this may be the case for some, this is not the case for all. Because of the era they grew up in, many baby boomers have a strong work ethic and probably outwork their younger counterpart. Computers did not become common in classrooms, households, and businesses until the 1980s. It is important to remember that not everyone grew up using a computer from a young age. With advancements in technology, comes a learning curve. After all, baby boomers were born prior to a computer being a necessity.
Age discrimination can come in many forms such as not being hired for a position, being laid-off, or being passed over for a promotion. Comments made based on age are probably the most easily identifiable acts of age discrimination. A jury in California recently awarded a woman $31 million in an age discrimination suit after it was found that her employer made age-based comments until she finally quit.
At Nilges Draher, we protect workers' rights. If you feel that you are facing age discrimination in the workplace, contact us today for a free consultation. It is important that you retain experienced employment counsel who can help you navigate the law and stand up for your rights.
Do you believe you are the victim of age discrimination? Read through the following frequently asked questions to see if you may be protected under the ADEA.
Q: Who does the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protect?
A: The ADEA protects certain job applicants and workers who are at least 40 years old from discrimination based on age in hiring, promotion, termination, compensation, and terms of employment.
The ADEA applies to employers with at least 20 employees, labor organizations with at least 25 members, employment agencies, and federal, local, and state governments. Independent contractors and military personnel are not protected under the ADEA, and every state will have its own laws for protecting older workers.
Q: Can an employer ask my age during a job interview?
A: Currently, it is legal for employers to ask your age and/or your graduation date. This includes prospective employers asking for this information during a job interview.
Q: Is age discrimination common?
A: According to AARP, 1 in 5 of the discrimination claims received by the EEOC are related to age discrimination.
Q: What can I do if I have been discriminated against because of my age?
A: You can file a claim with the EEOC and you can also work with a lawyer to file a lawsuit. It is always best to consult with a lawyer first. Nilges Draher offers free consultations and will help you assess your options.