Age Discrimination Exceptions
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What Is Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination occurs when an employer treats you differently from other employees because of your age.
While age discrimination is illegal in the workplace due to the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), the ADEA does include several exceptions. If your employer does something that seems to be age discrimination, but the reasoning behind your employer’s actions is based on one of the following reasons, it might be difficult to win an age discrimination case.
Is Age Discrimination Illegal?
In some cases, age discrimination is not illegal if there are certain justifications that allow employers to choose a certain age group over another. Many states have laws that prohibit age discrimination on the basis of age.
Under federal law and most state laws, the age discrimination laws only protect employers who are at least 40 years old. There are some exceptions that allow employers to choose a younger employee over an older employee if the employer in good faith believes that the job requirements that are necessary would not be easy for an older worker because of the physical load.
Are There Any Exceptions to Age Discrimination Laws?
The Age Discrimination Act permits some exceptions to the prohibition of discrimination based on age. These exceptions recognize that some of the age distinctions in some programs may be necessary to the normal operation of a program or activity. Also there are some laws that allow employers to exclude a certain age group from a job that usually requires physical demanding jobs.
What Are Some Exceptions to Age Discrimination Laws?
The following are several reasons that permit actions that might be considered age discrimination:
- Factors Merely Correlated with Age: If your employer’s actions are only coincidentally related to age it might be deemed to be non-discriminatory. Some examples include pension status, benefits, age-related disabilities, proximity to retirement, or a high salary.
- Bona Fide Seniority System of Benefit Plan: If there is a real seniority system of benefit plan in place, it is not considered age discrimination if there are a greater number of older people in more advanced positions. Additionally, early retirement offers under such systems or plans are generally permitted.
- Business Considerations: If there are business considerations that causes positions held by older people to be eliminated, that is allowed as long as no other employees are hired or reassigned to perform the same duties as the person eliminated.
- Age-Related Job Qualifications: Employers can make it so that only people under or over a certain age can hold a position. This is only allowed if age can be used a good determination of whether someone is qualified for the position and if it is impossible or highly impractical to assess each employee individually. This exception is rare and usually limited to public safety considerations, such as age limits for who can join the military or police force.
What Are the Requirements to Use Exceptions to Age Discrimination Laws?
If employers want to use exceptions to age discrimination laws, in order to use these justifications, the employer must meet two requirements. First the employer must show in good faith that there is a good reason to believe that nearly all the employers within that certain age group lack the qualification to be able to perform the job duties that is necessary. Second, the employer must prove that the individually testing of each employee for the qualification would be too time consuming and hard and the age classification is needed.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
As you can see, age discrimination laws are complex and filled with little nuances. Thus, it is best to contact an employment law attorney. An experienced employment law attorney can review your case and let you know what options are available to you if you feel you have been discriminated against due to your age.
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Last Modified: 04-07-2015 03:08 PM PDT
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