The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967 and helps protect people from age discrimination in the workplace. Facing age discrimination at work or when applying for a job can be upsetting and troubling, but unfortunately, it does happen. Here’s what to do if you think you are being discriminated against because of your age.
Understand the Law
One of the most important things a person who feels they may be a victim of age discrimination can do is familiarize themselves with how the law works and protects people against such action. Our e-newsletter is a great way to stay informed on a consistent basis.
Check if Your Employer Is Covered by Federal Law
If you work in a small business (with fewer than 20 employees) it is possible that the federal age discrimination law does not apply, so you will need to investigate state laws surrounding age-discrimination.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against because of your age and wish to file a complaint, it is a good idea to gather as much evidence as possible to help your case. Relevant communications such as email exchanges, taking notes of comments your employer makes about you, relevant work documents, phone messages, memos, and any witnesses can all help you prove you are being discriminated against due to your age. You can also make notes about how your employer behaves towards your younger colleagues as compared to you, as this can help you prove that you are being treated differently.
Get a Copy of Your Employment Contract
Your employment contract is a useful piece of evidence, and if you can prove that your employer is breaking the terms of your contract, it can help your case. If you don’t have a copy of your employment contract, ask for one before you file a complaint.
Hire an Attorney
Make sure that you hire a professional, reputable attorney to help fight your case. An experienced employment lawyer can ensure that you have all the documents you need and can provide tailored advice to assist with your unique circumstances. Your attorney can also help you file your complaint and also advise you on what to ask for such as damages to cover the loss of earnings or reinstatement of your job position.
Common Ways People Are Discriminated Against Because of Their Age
- Harassment. Hearing age-related remarks, or a person being called names or made fun of because of their age is a form of discrimination.
- Only hiring younger employees. If a business has a pattern of only hiring very young employees, they may be discriminating against older applicants during the hiring process. A company is breaking the law if they avoid hiring an older person because they are fearful they are overqualified for the position and may become bored and leave the post as a result.
- Being turned down for a promotion that goes to a younger, less experienced colleague. Older workers may find they are overlooked for promotions due to their age. It is also possible that businesses may offer less exciting or challenging work opportunities to older employees which is another type of age-related discrimination.
- Being laid off, having your position eliminated from the businesses or being forced to quit your job as an older person could be an age-related act of discrimination.
- Receiving an Employee Improvement Plan despite always previously having been praised for your work, or facing unfair discipline from your senior colleagues may be signs that the business is trying to find reasons to fire you despite you doing nothing wrong.
If you believe that you are suffering from age discrimination in the workplace, it is important to act promptly. The experienced employment lawyers at DeWitt Law can help provide you with excellent advice and an aggressive defense. Get in touch today for a free, confidential consultation.