What Protections are Available for America’s Aging Workers?

The American workforce is continuing to get older. While many Baby Boomers have already hit retirement, many still have some years left in their careers, while others are foregoing retirement to continue stocking away money in their savings. Because of advances in healthcare and improved life expectancy, the largest generation is remaining in the workforce longer than any previous generation.

With the workforce aging the way it is, employers and employees alike must be able to recognize age discrimination when it occurs. Such discrimination is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

An overview of the ADEA

Initially passed in 1967, the ADEA protects workers over 40 years old from employment discrimination. The legislation includes guidelines about discrimination in practices such as hiring, firing, demoting, promotion denials, compensation and employment privileges.

Older workers face challenges in the workplace related to age-based stereotypes. For example, employers might unfairly assume older workers are unable to use or adapt to technology as efficiently as younger employees. Discrimination might also occur due to longevity in the profession. Because more experienced workers are more likely to receive higher salaries, employers might be more likely to replace older, highly compensated workers with younger employees who would make less money.

Spotting age discrimination

Employers almost never openly state an adverse action was a result of age discrimination, so it is important for employees to be aware of the signs of such discrimination. For example, plaintiffs could use age-related comments as evidence of discrimination, even if they are not directly tied to the adverse action. Patterns of age-related actions within the company could also indicate systemic age discrimination in the company’s practices. For example, an ongoing pattern of terminating older employees and replacing them with younger employees would indicate the presence of age discrimination.

To learn more about your legal options if you believe yourself to be a victim of age discrimination, contact a respected Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.