With the downturned economy and jobs being lost, there are more and more people past the age of 40 who find themselves needing to look for employment. With all the worries and things to consider, most of them probably do not consider their age but rather are just looking to find another job. You should, however, be aware of certain laws that are in place against age discrimination if you do find yourself in this situation and what your rights as an older worker are. In this way you will be protecting yourself from possible discriminations that employers are just not allowed to make.
What is the Law?
The law has been in place since 1967, and is called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA. Because of this law, people who are 40 years of age and older are not allowed to be discriminated against due to age in the workplace. This covers several areas of employment which include being hired, fired, promoted, compensated, trained, laid off and benefits. It is also not allowed to retaliate against an older worker who disagrees with certain employment practices which they think are age discrimination by way of testifying, getting involved with an investigation or a litigation under the ADEA. The protection of the ADEA applies to employers that have at least twenty employees and includes employment agents, labor organizations and the federal government.
ADEA Protection Coverage
The protection that the ADEA provides covers many areas of employment which include apprenticeship programs, job announcements, pre-employment inquiries, and worker benefits. Employers are not allowed to display any form of employment discrimination when it comes to age in any of these areas. In the case of benefits, the ADEA was changed in 1990 so that employers could not deny benefits to any older worker. It was acknowledged by Congress that benefits for an older worker are higher than those same benefits for a worker who is younger. Because of this, in a few circumstances an employer may be able to reduce the benefits based on age, as long as the cost to provide these reduced benefits to the older worker is the same as providing benefits to the younger workers.