Dealing with Age Discrimination in Employment

Dealing With Age Discrimination in Employment

You’ve applied for job after job, but despite many good interviews you have yet to be hired. You know you have more experience and education for the job than many, if not most, of the other people who were interviewed. Perhaps you were recently fired, and you did not see it coming. All of your evaluations were good, and you received a good raise at the beginning of the year. You had often been complimented on your work performance.

Perhaps you have been the victim of age discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act makes intentional discrimination in employment against those older than 40 to be illegal, but not all employers follow the law. The law also makes it illegal to create company policies that have a disparate impact on workers over 40.

If you are denied employment because of your age, it might be harder to prove. If on the other hand, you are fired, demoted, or denied a raise or promotion because of your age that might be a little easier to prove.

Attorneys, on their websites recommend you let any employer know that you are taking any matter considering discrimination seriously. You should ask for a written report every time you report an incident of discrimination. You should request an investigation into your allegations. You should request disciplinary or punitive measures be taken against anyone who may have violated the law. By law, employers must promptly consider all reports of discrimination and harassment.

If on the other hand you would falsely report discrimination or harassment by a supervisor or another employee, you might face at least an uncomfortable working environment.

If your employer does not respond to your request for an investigation, you could consider taking the matter to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency has responsibility for overseeing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. You could also contact your state equal employment agency. If you should take such an action, your employer will no doubt take notice, even if he has ignored your requests for an investigation before.

You should also keep a diary of any incidents of harassment or discrimination. Such a diary should include the date of any such incident, the location at work where it occurred, what happened, what was said, who said it, and the names of any witnesses. You should also keep any pictures or objects which were given to you which you believe may have been discriminatory in nature. If you cannot keep the object, make a copy of it and a note of who gave it to you.

You should also review your company’s anti-discrimination policy. Any policies which actually forbid what happened to you may serve your case well.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Review federal and state laws to see what rights you have. These can be found at a law library, and many general libraries. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act would apply to a situation similar to those described in this article. The law applies to employers with more than 20 employees.

An attorney could also help you in deciding what course to take. He or she could also be a calm advocate for your rights. If you have been the victim of such discrimination, it would be understandable if you would have trouble controlling your emotions.

According to the official EEOC website, an employer cannot legally even post a job advertisement which expresses a specific age limitation or preference. Such a listing is only legal in a rare circumstance when age is a proven bona fide qualification for a particular job.

According to the EEOC website, www.eeoc.com, the ban against age discrimination also includes: “discrimination on the basis of age by apprenticeship programs; including joint labor-management apprenticeship programs; denial of benefits to older employees: (An employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits is the same as providing benefits to younger workers.) the process of hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment.”

According to the website, employers also may not use “retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices.”

Employers are required to post notices to employees, advising them of their rights under various laws the EEOC enforces. The notices also advise employees of their right to be free from retaliation. The notices must also be accessible to those with vision problems, or other conditions which might affect their ability to read.

If you are applying for a job, the law does not specifically prohibit an employer from asking your age or date of birth. Such inquires might deter older workers from applying for a job, however. They could also possibly show intent not to hire an older worker. According to the EEOC website, requests for age information will be examined to make sure the request was made for a lawful purpose, rather than to violate the law.

The federal agency received 16,585 charges of age discrimination in fiscal year 2005. A total of $77.7 million was recovered for charging parties and other affected individuals.

The EEOC may be contacted by e-mail at info@ask.eeoc.gov. The agency also may be contacted at U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1801 L Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20507, (202) 663-4900, and by fax at (202) 663 4494.

Proving age discrimination may be difficult, but there are things you can do to protect your rights under the law.

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