The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jul 17, 2017 in Employee Rights
For the last 50 years, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) has provided valuable protection for workers over the age of 40 from workplace discrimination.
However, older employees still consistently report higher incidences of discrimination, including failing to be hired or promoted at the same rate as younger employees.
If you are denied employment opportunities based on your age, a dedicated employment law attorney in Phoenix can assess your claim to determine if it qualifies as age discrimination.
What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?
The ADEA is a federal law that protects employees and job applications who are 40 or older from discrimination based on their age. The ADEA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and applies to the following areas of employment:
- Federal, state or local government
- Employers with 20 or more employees
- Labor organizations with a minimum of 25 members
- Employment agencies
Arizona provides additional protection to employees 40 or older under the Arizona Civil Rights Act, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
How Does the ADEA Protect Older Workers?
The ADEA provides significant protection to workers and applicants. The law specifically prohibits the following acts:
- Failing or refusing to hire a candidate because of his or her age
- Basing a decision to demote, terminate or lay off an employee on his or her age
- Evaluating an employee on his or her age rather than job performance
- Mentioning a particular age as a requirement for a job in an advertisement or notice for the job
- Establishing age limits for apprenticeship programs
- Forcing an employee to retire when he or she reaches a particular age (there are certain exceptions, such as for law enforcement and fire personnel)
- Enforcing workplace policies that have a disproportionate impact on employees age 40 or older, unless they are based on a reasonable factor other than age
- Targeting older workers for layoffs because their benefits are too costly
- Basing an employee’s wages on his or her age
- Denying benefits to an employee because of his or her age
- Reducing an older employee’s benefits
Employers are also prohibited from intervening with any investigation the EEOC conducts regarding an age discrimination claim. This includes retaliating against the employee who filed the complaint or any employee who assists in the EEOC’s investigation.
How Can I Pursue a Claim for Age Discrimination with the EEOC?
If you believe you have been discriminated against at your workplace because of your age, you are entitled to file a claim with the EEOC.
The EEOC requires you file your claim within 180 days of when the discriminatory act occurred. Your employer will then be informed of the EEOC’s investigation and will be given the chance to remedy the situation.
However, it can be difficult to successfully bring an age discrimination claim against your employer. You will need to provide evidence that shows your employer deliberately treated you differently because of your age and that this treatment altered the terms or conditions of your employment.
You will have to prove that you were treated differently because of your age and did not have the same rights or employment opportunities enjoyed by younger employees.
You should thoroughly document the details of any actions made by your employer. This can include substandard treatment or remarks made about your age or your decision to file a claim. You should collect any emails or office memos during this time that may reflect discriminatory behavior.
Should I Follow Up With a Lawsuit?
Once the EEOC has concluded its investigation, it may decide not to take on your claim itself and will issue a “right to sue” letter.
You will have 60 days after filing a charge with the EEOC to bring a federal lawsuit against your employer and 90 days after you receive the “right to sue” letter from the EEOC. A lawsuit may enable you to recover compensation for any retaliatory actions made by your employer that caused you to suffer financially. Compensation could include:
- Reinstatement to the position you lost due to discrimination
- Being hired for the position you were previously denied because of your age
- Back pay for any lost wages after you were unlawfully terminated
- Liquidated damages
- Payment for attorneys’ fees and court costs
An age discrimination lawsuit may also correct the discriminatory practices in your workplace and prevent the same type of behavior from occurring in the future.
Contact an Employment Law Attorney
The Phillips Dayes Law Firm PC team of dedicated Phoenix attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of Arizona workers. We are ready to help you fight for your claim against an employer who discriminated against you because of your age.
Charges for consultations and attorneys' fees may be different than Phillips Law Group.
Call or text 1-800-706-3000 today to schedule a consultation.