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Is it legal to discriminate against older workers?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Workplace Discrimination

If you are a worker who is over 40 years old, then you should know that you are protected against age discrimination. Age discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against for their age during the hiring process, in the workplace or when being fired.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 directly prohibits age discrimination in the workplace across the United States. This is a federal law. It doesn’t apply to workers who are under the age of 40.

Who can commit age discrimination?

Anyone in the workplace can commit age discrimination intentionally or unintentionally. For example, a coworker, supervisor, new hire, client or other party may discriminate against an older employee for various reasons. Even people over 40 can commit age discrimination.

When is age discrimination prohibited?

Age discrimination is prohibited during:

  • Training
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Job assignment
  • Benefits distribution
  • Promotions
  • Layoffs
  • Any term of employment

It’s important to know your rights if you believe that you’re a victim of age discrimination. For example, you may want to talk to your Human Resources department about comments or actions that you feel are discriminatory toward you. You may also want to directly ask individuals in the workplace to stop doing things that you feel are harassing you about your age.

Is there ever a time when it’s legal to discriminate due to age?

There are exceptions to the rules. If age is a qualification for a certain job, then it may not be discriminatory to refuse to hire someone outside that age range. For instance, if a new movie is being filmed starring two children, 10 and 12, it would be unreasonable to hire someone in their 40s or 50s for those roles.

Oftentimes, it’s legal to choose people of different ages for children’s store models or if looking youthful is a bona fide occupational qualification. If that is not the case for a job, then it’s not legal to discriminate due to age.

If you are discriminated against due to your age, you can seek assistance. You deserve to be treated fairly no matter how old you are.