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Is there an overarching law prohibiting age discrimination?


With retirement a challenge for many in California, more and more workers may be remaining on the job indefinitely. Consequently, age discrimination is a serious concern in today's uncertain economy. There are key laws related to age discrimination in the modern workplace. These may be of interest to those who are unfamiliar with the topic or believe they may have been a victim of this type of damaging discrimination.

Do laws against age discrimination protect those of all ages? One critical law is the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination in employment based on age. Interestingly, the act does not prohibit employers from favoring older workers based on age, even when this preference may harm another worker age 40 or older. The protection of the ADEA applies not only to employees but also job applicants. Thus, someone who believes they were a victim of either wrongful termination or refuse to hire based on age can benefit from speaking with an attorney.

When it comes to age discrimination, the actual protections of the ADEA cover a lot of areas. These include listing age preferences in job notices or advertisements, denial of benefits, discriminating based on age in apprenticeship programs and more. One thing job applicants may not realize is that the ADEA does not technically prohibit a prospective employer from asking an applicant's age during an interview. However, these inquiries are closely scrutinized. If the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, the employer is likely to be within their rights to ask. However, if not, the employer may be in violation of the ADEA.

Asking about an applicant's age can not only deter older workers from full participation in the economy, but it can also indicate the employer's possible intention to discriminate. Age discrimination is a serious problem when employers violate a landmark law meant to protect hardworking Americans. For information on age discrimination and pursuing a complaint with the EEOC, a California employment discrimination attorney can be a reliable ally.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Age Discrimination," accessed Jan. 16, 2016

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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