The federal Age Discrimination Enforcement Act, or ADEA, went in to effect 50 years ago in 1968. This federal law protects workers in Los Angeles and across the country form age discrimination, including things like being overlooked for new positions because of one's age and unfair terminations or even targeted layoffs that are designed to weed out older, and supposedly more expensive, workers from a company.
According to a report that was prepared to commemorate this important occasion, a lot has changed in the workforce since the ADEA became law. For instance, the American workforce has expanded exponentially, and the proportion of the workforce that is older has also gone up. What this means is that more people than ever can take advantage of the protections the ADEA offers.
To review, the ADEA prohibits most employers from discriminating against workers who are over 40 years old. An employer may not single out older workers when it comes to hiring, firing, disciplining, promoting and otherwise managing employees. Likewise, an employer must be sure that the environment is not hostile to older workers. Finally, an employer may not advertise a job in such a way to discourage older workers from applying.
The ADEA also tries to curb more subtle forms of discrimination. For instance, the law tries to prevent an employer from using mass layoffs as a backdoor for discriminating against older workers. The law also requires that older workers get the same health and life insurance benefits offered to them.
For 50 years, the ADEA has protected workers from discrimination based on age. However, proving age discrimination is not always easy, and a victim may need the help of an attorney to make his or her case.