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Important facts about age discrimination in the workplace

Older employees may unfortunately discover that age discrimination is still alive and well, even in a tolerant and accepting state like California. There are many federal and state laws preventing employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because of age, but perhaps the most important one is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The purpose of the ADEA is to protect applicants and employees who are 40 years old or older from discrimination.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes the ADEA protections even stronger. It is crucial for you to know your rights, so keep reading for more information on your protections and what to do if you suspect age discrimination.

How the law protects you

Under the ADEA, employers cannot hire, fire, pay, promote, demote or conduct performance reviews based on age. Employers are specifically prohibited from the following:

  • Setting age limits for a training program
  • Saying a certain age is preferred in a job ad or recruiting materials
  • Forcing you into retirement at a specific age (with few exceptions)
  • Retaliating against you for filing an age discrimination claim

Your employer also cannot deny you the chance to participate in an employee benefit plan due to your age. In the example of life insurance, an employer must spend the same amount to purchase protections for younger and older employees, even if younger employees receive more coverage for the premium.

Filing a claim

You have the right to file a claim if you feel you are the subject of age discrimination. Before filing a formal complaint, you might want to go through the human resources system within your company to resolve the issue. If your employer does not comply and you wish to file a claim, be sure your case is strong. You should not have to stand for unfair treatment at the workplace due to your age.

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