What Is Age Discrimination, And How Can You Sue Over It?

The feeling that your age played a role in why you were dismissed from a job can leave you wondering what your options for addressing the situation might be. It's a good idea to get a sense of what the laws on age discrimination are before you move ahead with a case. Here are some key concepts you should learn before you get in touch with a firm that provides age discrimination law services.

Modern American Laws Against Age Discrimination

Two acts of Congress form the bedrock of the current system used in the U.S. These are the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, sometimes referred to as ADEA, and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, sometimes called the OWBPA. Under ADEA, it is illegal in the U.S. to make firing, promotion, assignment, and compensation decisions based on the age of the employee in question if such decisions influence anyone 40 years of age or older. Notably, hiring decisions are not included in this pattern of conduct.

Pursuing a case calls for filing an initial Administrative Complaint before you move ahead with a lawsuit. This complaint goes to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that regulates discrimination. Your employer will then have an opportunity to respond to the complaint.

What Constitutes Age Discrimination?

There are a handful of overt acts a company can make that an age discrimination law attorney would instantly recognize as instantly illegal. First, there are cases where companies clear out workers due to age. This is a particularly rampant problem in the tech industry where there's a bias towards younger workers to know the newest and coolest developments in the industry. Second, age discrimination can be inferred from attempts to flush out older workers in order to bring down costs. This is why you may see many companies that retire older workers choose to use opt-in severance packages as opposed to firings.

Proving Age Discrimination

Overt age discrimination has declined since ADEA was passed into law. If you happen to catch a superior discussing the notion of firing older workers or treating them differently, you'll still need corroborating witnesses to back up your claim.

Most cases are made based on patterns. An age discrimination law attorney can seek employment records from your company during the process of filing a discrimination claim. If there is a pattern of discrimination, it can then be shown to the court.