Age discrimination is legally defined as any form of workplace discrimination against an individual age 40 or over. Age was added to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Like other forms of discrimination, age discrimination can cause a victim to suffer steep financial damages.
Older workers are further protected by an additional employment law, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990. Under this law, it is illegal for an employer to deny an employee benefits based on his or her age.
Age Discrimination Can Jeopardize an Employee's Comfortable Retirement
When an individual stops securing employment at an advanced, but not yet retirement-ready age, his or her prospects for a comfortable retirement can be compromised. Often, individuals rely on retirement benefits like 401(k) matching to put money away to support themselves later in life. When a worker is unfairly denied jobs simply because of his or her age, he or she can be forced to continue working later into life, potentially taking physically demanding and dangerous jobs.
Recognizing Age Discrimination in the Workplace
Age discrimination can take many forms, such as:
- Refusing to hire or promote individuals over a certain age;
- Subjecting older individuals to harassment, such as age-related comments;
- Refusing to train older workers on certain programs or making statements about their abilities to work with new technologies;
- Excluding older employees from meetings, projects, and advancement opportunities;
- Terminating individuals over a certain age;
- Strongly encouraging older individuals to retire; and
- Having different expectations and disciplinary measures in place for older and younger employees.
Age discrimination can be committed by individuals over 40, even when they are older than their victims.
Age Discrimination can Create Unhealthy Workplace Dynamics
Age discrimination can keep valuable workers out of the workplace. Employees of all ages can pick up on the unfair treatment and develop poor attitudes of management, costing the company productivity. Workers fearful that they could also face discrimination can also leave, taking their skills with them. Employees can lose faith in the employer and feel like they are not valued, stripping the company of their valuable contributions.
Work with an Experienced Tulsa Employment Lawyer
If you have faced age discrimination in your workplace, speak up. Discuss your experience with Human Resources and if this does not resolve the issue, contact our team of employment lawyers at Frasier, Frasier & Hickman LLP to schedule your free consultation to discuss your rights and options.