Age discrimination occurs when employees receive different treatment or changes to employment status because of their age. This type of discrimination takes many forms; however, there are laws that help protect people, and employers’ failure to treat employees equally may lead to a lawsuit.
It is important for people to be aware of the behavior that is illegal in the workplace and know the laws in place to prevent unfair treatment from employers.
Laws against workplace ageism
Passed in 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a law that works to prevent people from facing discrimination based on age. This law protects employees who are 40 years of age or older working in companies with a minimum of 20 employees.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act is the California state law passed in 1959 that is similar to ADEA; however, a company only needs to have a minimum of five employees. Certain company policies also may be discriminatory if they have a negative impact on employees over 40 years old but do not affect younger employees.
Examples of age discrimination
Ageism may cause many different workplace issues. The signs of age discrimination might include less pay, no promotions, a lack of benefits or termination. For example, a supervisor may overlook an older employee for a promotion while offering it to a younger employee, even though both employees provide similar productivity results for the company.
Class action for age bias
Workplace age discrimination may occur as early as when the employer first posts a job. In July, for a class action lawsuit of 227 people, Google agreed to pay $11 million in a settlement for not hiring qualified people over 40 years old for positions due to age bias.
Research shows that age discrimination may be rising in the United States, and it will take more work to end discriminatory behavior in the workplace; however, if a person is facing this situation, it is important to know the laws that protect against ageism.