Most of our readers in California are probably familiar with many of the different types of discrimination that can occur in workplaces, such as discrimination based on race, gender or even disability. However, age discrimination is sometimes less well known, perhaps simply because we all like to think that older workers have more experience and, therefore, are more valuable to employers. Unfortunately, that sometimes is not the case.
Basics about age discrimination
The reality is that some workers in America are indeed subject to age discrimination in the workplace, particularly those who are age 40 and above. As a result, a federal law known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or “ADEA,” protects the employment rights of those older workers. Some situations that possibly involve age discrimination may be subject to legal claims under the ADEA.
For example, as the national economy has faced ups and downs in recent years, some job applicants may find it hard to secure employment. For older workers, being a job applicant for a new position may be exciting, but this is a situation ripe for age discrimination to occur. Employers may shun older job applicants due to concerns about what their pay expectations may be, potential medical concerns or even concerns over how the older worker might “fit in” with the workplace “culture.” Age discrimination in hiring decisions may be subject to legal action.
Harassment is another form of discrimination. Older workers may be subject to derogatory remarks from supervisors or co-workers, or offensive remarks, that are based on the workers’ age. If the harassment is consistent and frequent, such discrimination may be subject to legal action as well.