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The Age Discrimination in Employment Act: The Facts

As you've gotten older, you've noticed that the people getting hired are younger and younger each year. The company changes with each new round of hires, and you start to see that you're being treated differently than usual.

Your age shouldn't matter, but in some workplaces, harassment and other negative effects are seen the older you become. Fortunately, age discrimination for those 40 or older is illegal thanks to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

What actions do the ADEA prohibit?

The ADEA makes it illegal to harass an older employee due to his or her age. For example, it is unlawful to refer to an older worker as grandpa or grandma in a negative, ignominious manner.

It is also unlawful to base a person's employment, raises, firing, compensation or benefits on his or her age.

Interestingly, the ADEA does give employers the right to favor older workers even if doing so ends up affecting another worker who is 40 or older but younger than the worker chosen for a particular task.

What else does the ADEA prohibit?

The ADEA prohibits apprenticeship programs from choosing apprentices based on age. There are exceptions to the rule when age could be detrimental.

Benefits that workers receive may also not be based on a person's age. Older employees may not be denied benefits based on age alone. Some employers may be able to reduce benefits to older workers in certain circumstances due to the cost discrepancy between benefits for younger and older workers. An employer in that situation must make sure the benefits cost the same and may not offer benefits of a lower cost to the older person to save money.

The ADEA is on your side. You don't deserve to have to deal with age discrimination in the work place, since it isn't legal in the first place.

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