NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What constitutes age discrimination in the workplace, and where can I turn to for help if I think I’ve got a case?
— Demoted at 64
Age discrimination has become a much more frequent complaint in recent years as more and more people are working into their retirement years.
But you need to be aware that proving it is extremely difficult to do, especially since the 2009 Supreme Court decision that raised the bar for the type of legal proof that workers need to win age discrimination lawsuits.
With that said, here are the steps you’ll need to take to fight age discrimination if you think you’ve been treated unlawfully.
ADEA protection: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is your first defense against age discrimination. This is a federal law that says an employer cannot fire, refuse to hire or treat you differently than other employees because of your age. Some examples of age discrimination include:
· You were fired because your boss wanted to keep younger workers who are paid less.
· You were turned down for a promotion, which went to someone younger hired from outside the company because the boss says the company “needs new blood.”
· When company layoffs are announced, most of the persons laid off were older, while younger workers with less seniority and less on-the-job experience were kept on.
· Before you were fired, your supervisor made age-related remarks about you.
· You didn’t get hired because the employer wanted a younger-looking person to do the job.
The ADEA protects all workers and job applicants age 40 and over who work for employers that have 20 or more employees — including federal, state and local governments as well as employment agencies and labor unions.
If your workplace has fewer than 20 employees, you may still be protected under your state’s anti-age discrimination law. Contact your state labor department or your state’s fair employment practices agency for more information.