Definition - What does Age Discrimination mean?
Age discrimination is the act of treating someone differently because of their age. Federal laws, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), have been passed to protect older employees and promote the employment of older workers. The ADEA, in conjunction with laws passed by the states, help to ensure that older employees are not discriminated against in hiring practices, or fired due to their age.
Justipedia explains Age Discrimination
Protections under the ADEA extend to workers who are 40 years and older who are not promoted, who are fired or who are discriminated against due to their age. Employers are also barred from denying fringe benefits based on age or classifying employees in such a way that they are denied certain employment opportunities due to their age. Job applicants who are not hired specifically because of their age may also have a case under the ADEA.
Note, however, that not all employers are defined as an “employer” under the ADEA. For example, the ADEA specifically considers an employer as someone who has 20 or more employees and who is engaged in an industry affecting commerce. Additional state laws may also determine how many employees an employer must have before they can be sued for age discrimination.
Additionally, not all employees are covered under the ADEA. For example, employees may be expressly excluded from protections afforded by the ADEA if they are classified as independent contractors.
Workers who suspect that they are the victim of age discrimination should take immediate steps. First, they should talk to their manager or someone in their Human Resource Department about their concerns.
Job experts also suggest that employees take pre-emptive steps, such as making sure that their job skills are up to date and getting feedback from a manager about their job performance. Any management issues should then be addressed.
Finally, if a worker is laid off or fired and they believe it was due to their age, they can discuss their case with an employment attorney.