Age Discrimination in the Workplace

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What Is Age Discrimination in the Workplace?

Age discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee (or potential employee) differently from other workers who perform the same work, solely on account of the person’s age. Proving age discrimination requires proof that the employer intended to discriminate against the employee based on their age. Work performance and ability to perform certain tasks are important considerations in age-discrimination cases.

Age discrimination is especially common during the hiring phase of employment. For instance, age discrimination can occur when an employer refuses to hire a person simply because of their age (and there is no other apparent reason to do deny them the job).

Is Age Discrimination Limited to Hiring Procedures?

No, age discrimination can occur in many other settings besides the hiring process. For instance, it could be considered age discrimination if the employer is consistently denying certain persons a pay raise or a promotion due to their age.

Termination based on age discrimination is common. Another common scenario is where the employer fires a person simply because they are getting close to the age where they will be retiring soon. Some employers might do this to avoid having to provide retirement benefits; however, if this is based on age discrimination, a civil claim may be necessary.

What If I Have Been Subject to Age-Based Discrimination?


Most age-based discrimination claims will need to be processed by a federal or state government agency. A common form of relief is for the victim to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will conduct investigations into the person’s claim.

If they do find a violation, they may hold hearings and prescribe a remedy, such as restoring the person to their position prior to termination. Compensation for lost wages and other losses may also be a part of the remedy.

For most cases, the law requires the victim to file a claim with a government agency before they can file a lawsuit. They can only file a lawsuit if the investigation does not provide a suitable or adequate remedy. EEOC and other agency investigations may still require the assistance of a lawyer during the process.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Age Discrimination Claims?

Age-discrimination claims can often be complex. They may actually involve entire company policies that don’t conform to state or federal laws. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with an age-discrimination legal issue. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice on your case. Your lawyer can provide you with assistance during an investigation, and can also determine whether a lawsuit may be required as well.

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Last Modified: 04-24-2014 09:33 AM PDT

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