The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is designed to prevent workers who are 40 or older from being treated differently by their employers. It applies to employers in California and throughout the United States that have 20 or more employees. This is true whether the employer is in the private sector or is a state or local government. Furthermore, ADEA applies to the federal government and labor unions.
Under the terms of this legislation, employers are not allowed to use age as a primary basis for hiring, firing or making other employment decisions. This generally applies to decisions related to benefits, promotions and employee training programs. Although employers are allowed to ask for a job applicant’s date of birth, it could be seen as a violation of age discrimination legislation. If a worker takes legal action against an employer or participates in legal action against an employer related to possible age discrimination, a company is not allowed to retaliate.
Companies are allowed to ask their employees to waive their rights under ADEA. However, an employee must do so voluntarily and with a full understanding of what he or she is doing. To be considered valid, a waiver must be easy to understand, and workers must have 21 days to consider signing it. Workers must also have the right to have a waiver reviewed by an attorney.
Age discrimination in the workplace is generally a violation of employment law. Those who believe that they lost a chance to advance their career because of their age may want to hire an attorney. This may be helpful when pursuing a charge with the EEOC or a lawsuit. Legal counsel may also be able to negotiate a favorable outcome by holding informal talks directly with an employer.