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How do we define define age discrimination?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines age discrimination through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This federal act offers protection from age-related discrimination to anyone who is 40 years of age or older.

It is important to note that the concept of age discrimination as per the EEOC applies to those being discriminated against for being older and not the other way around. In other words, an individual cannot, under federal law, be denied an employment opportunity or a specific rate of pay because of his or her advanced age. However, an individual could be unfairly treated on the job because he or she was younger.

Age discrimination under the ADEA is defined as the unfair treatment of employees because of their ages in relation to all aspects of employment, such as pay, promotion, firing, hiring, benefits, training, conditions of work or terms of employment. Age discrimination protections also protect people from age-related harassment. Harassment might involve:

  • Derogatory comments about age.
  • Frequent and repetitive teasing that is annoying, offensive and/or creates a hostile work situation.
  • Comments about age that cause an employee to get fired.

Finally, age discrimination could also include a company policy that's age-related and has a negative impact on individuals who are 40-plus.

Do you suspect that you've suffered negative career consequences because you were 40 years of age or over? You might be able to pursue an age discrimination lawsuit in court. If your lawsuit is successful, you could receive financial compensation for the damages you've suffered as a direct and proximate result of the discrimination.

Source: EEOC, "Age Discrimination," accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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