Age discrimination is prevalent in our society. Managers making layoff or termination decisions can be influenced by negative stereotypes about older workers — or their relatively high earnings.
At the same time, diminishing pensions and 401(k) portfolios are causing more and more older workers to stay in the job market well into their sixties and seventies. When these individuals are laid off, they often have great difficulty obtaining new employment.
What is Age Discrimination in the Workplace?
Age discrimination in the workplace is when employees and job applicants are treated less fairly because of their age. If you suspect you have been the victim of age discrimination, there is help! Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you a long-term employee who has recently been assigned a younger supervisor who seems to disregard your previous accomplishments, or who seems to hold you to a more stringent performance standard than others?
- Have you noticed that your company’s recent hiring practices have resulted in a disproportionately young workforce?
- Are you being passed over for promotions in favor of younger employees who are less qualified?
- Are you being singled out and disciplined for conduct that is tolerated from your younger colleagues?
- Are your colleagues over 40 being laid off in greater proportion than the younger employees at your workplace?
- Does your supervisor make negative comments about your age?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions it is possible your employer is practicing age discrimination in the workplace.
Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA)
People 40 years of age and older are protected from being discriminated against on the basis of age under the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (the “ADEA”). The ADEA prohibits discrimination when making hiring, firing, promotion, and demotion decisions.
The act also prevents employers from taking retaliation in the terms, conditions, or benefits of employment on the basis of age. The ADEA applies to employers with twenty or more employees.
Age Discrimination Claims May Require More Proof
In a recent age discrimination case, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., the Supreme Court held that an employee must show that the employer would not have taken the adverse action if not for the employee’s age.
This ruling is significant, because it may make it harder to prove age discrimination than it is to prove other forms of discrimination protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Age discrimination plaintiffs may be held to a higher standard of proof than other victims of illegal discrimination.
Fight Age Discrimination in the Workplace with NC Employment Attorneys
Regrettably, many Americans are reluctant to obtain legal representation, even when age discrimination is blatant. Age discrimination is morally wrong and illegal: it would be a travesty to allow your employer to get away with it. The attorneys at Van Kampen Law have extensive experience litigating age discrimination cases.