Ageism In The Workplace: Is It Illegal?

Discrimination and Harassment May 25th, 2023
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Ageism is not legal in the workplace. It is unlawful under state and federal law to discriminate against an employee based on their age if they are over the age of 40. Here’s more.


Does Age Matter?


Yes, it does. In 1967 The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed on a federal level and became law. In short, it specified that employers cannot discriminate against workers or applicants who are over the age of 40. California also has the Fair Employment and Housing Act which also states that employers or housing authorities cannot discriminate against people who are over the age of 40. A housing authority is anyone who offers housing, rental properties, property sales, lending money for property purchases, etc.


What Ageism Means to American Workers


These ageism acts by both the federal government and the State of California are in place because, at some point, employers would discriminate against people who were over the age of 40. Either they would not hire them because of their age or they would terminate them because they earned more money, were close to retirement, or were close to obtaining a retirement package for working X number of years, or another scenario that violated employee rights.

The retirement age from the Government is 67 years and that means that someone who is 40 years old still has 27 years’ worth of work left in their “working lifetime.” Ageism makes those last years a horrible struggle for older workers. These workers still have to find healthcare, income, pay bills, and support other family members.

Businesses may use statistics to target groups of workers that may cost them money. Older workers might be more prone to workplace injury or businesses might fear that they will drive up the cost of company-paid insurance plans. Regardless, firing someone because they are aging or about to gain enough time at work to receive a company-sponsored retirement program is not legal anymore.

Imagine working under the promise that if you work for the company for 20 years, you would receive a company retirement package that might include health insurance coverage and a small stipend. Many American workers experienced these longevity offers and then were terminated by their employers just before achieving that bonus. It is situations like these that created the federal and state acts making it illegal to discriminate against older workers.


Contact DLaw For More Information About Ageism


If you feel that you’ve experienced age discrimination at work, you should reach out to an employment lawyer.

Age discrimination is against the law and a violation of employee rights. DLaw is an employment law firm that protects employees in California from employers who break the law. If you need help with workplace discrimination and ageism, call today and learn more about your unique employment situation and your legal rights and options.

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