A Brief Guide to Age Discrimination

age discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, commonly referred to as the ADEA, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are 40 years of age or older. Complaints of age discrimination are extremely prevalent in the federal government. One third of federal sector complaints of discrimination raise age-based allegations, making age discrimination the second most alleged basis in formal EEO complaints.

Age discrimination can take many forms, including the following:

  • Marine V., et al. v. Social Security Administration: The EEOC found that the agency’s use of a pre-employment written examination as a way to screen out internal candidates and recruit external hires was pretext for age discrimination. The EEOC ordered the agency to retroactively place the aggrieved employees in the positions for which they had applied but were not hired.
  • Cook v. Department of Labor: A 59-year-old human resources employee was subjected to age discrimination when her supervisor asked about her retirement plan, removed her supervisory duties, and made age-based comments. The supervisor’s age-based comments, including his statement that “younger people are coming in and out and they are better with computers,” created an inference of discrimination. The EEOC awarded the complainant compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.
  • Kruecke v. Department of Veterans Affairs: An Administrative Judge found that the agency’s discharge of a 67 year-old nurse for alleged deficient performance was pretext for age discrimination because the agency was willing to tolerate substandard performance from a younger nurse. The EEOC affirmed the AJ’s findings and ordered the agency to pay back pay and train its responsible officials.

Though victims of age discrimination may elect to pursue their complaints through the administrative process (the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other state and local human rights offices), this is not necessary. Employees who feel they have been a target of age discrimination may file a complaint directly in federal District Court.

Contact Alan Lescht and Associates today if you feel that your employer made employment decisions based on your age. We offer strategic and results-driven legal services to federal government employees around the world. Call 202-463-6036 to schedule a consultation.

How to recognize signs of age discrimination in the workplace

Age discrimination lawyers

In a perfect world, employees would be hired and evaluated based on their knowledge, skills, and work ethic. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. Discrimination in its many forms can make for a toxic work environment – affecting the victim of discrimination as well as other employees and the workplace as a whole.

Age discrimination is one type of workplace discrimination. This type of discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfairly because of the employee’s age. Unfortunately, age discrimination can be hard to prove, and sometimes it can be hard to recognize.

Here are some common examples of age discrimination in the workplace:

  • Promoting a younger, less experienced or less qualified employee
  • Paying older employees less than younger employees for the same job
  • Making jokes or comments about an employee’s age
  • Excluding an employee from certain meetings or activities because of his or her age
  • Suddenly giving an older employee a bad review or scrutinizing his or her work
  • Pressuring an employee to retire (or questioning an employee about retirement plans)
  • Using age-specific words in a job description (for example, “join our young and dynamic team”)

If you suspect that you are experiencing age discrimination, you should speak to an attorney. An attorney from our firm can initiate a full investigation of your case and help you determine a course of legal action.

Remember: Age discrimination is wrong and it is illegal – and victims may be eligible for monetary compensation.

Talk to an attorney today: If you have experienced age discrimination at work, you deserve to learn about your legal options. For a free phone consultation, please call 202-463-6036.

The baffling reality of age discrimination: How too much experience can impede your career

When it comes to the workforce, experience can cut both ways. Many advanced careers require years or decades of demonstrated experience. However, older workers are increasingly finding themselves shut out of career opportunities simply because of their age.

Employers sometimes overlook well-qualified seniors in favor of fresh young faces. When they make employment decisions purely based on age, however, they may be breaking the law.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal for most employers to discriminate against those ages 40 and older. Unlawful and unfair treatment can happen at any stage of the employment process, including:

  • Hiring
  • Salary and benefits
  • Working conditions
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Layoffs, firings or forced retirements

What can you do about it?

You might be entitled to bring a legal action against your employer for compensation, reinstatement (if appropriate) and punitive damages. Before doing anything, though, talk with a lawyer about your rights. Don’t put off this important first step. If you wait too long, important deadlines could pass and evidence could fade, leaving you out of luck.

The problem of proof

You might know, deep down, that you were a victim of age discrimination. Proving it is another matter. Unless you’re lucky enough to find a smoking gun, you likely won’t have a concrete admission from your employer that their unfair actions were based on your age.

Fortunately, many types of evidence might shed light on your situation. For example:

  • Perhaps your employer has engaged in an ongoing pattern of discriminatory action against older employees
  • Maybe other employees have witnessed offensive remarks or persistent harassment
  • Maybe you reported the age discrimination internally and your concerns were ignored – or, worse, you were fired in retaliation

You should never feel forced to remain silent about illegal age discrimination. By making your voice heard, you can seek justice and accountability – not only for yourself, but also for others in similar situations.