What is Age Discrimination?
In its simplest and most basic terms, age discrimination in a work setting occurs when you are mistreated based solely upon your age. Age discrimination may occur if you are not hired due to your age or are improperly laid off or discharged because of it. It may occur in the types of assignments you receive or the work evaluations you are given. It may be reflected in the salary you receive or in your unsuccessful pursuit of promotions. It might manifest itself in harassment you receive in the workplace and your employer’s inability or refusal to prevent it. To be successful in an age discrimination claim, you must demonstrate that your age’s treatment violated a federal or state statute enacted in order to avoid age discrimination.
An age discrimination claim is highly fact-sensitive, as there are certain circumstances in which being treated differently due to your age is perfectly lawful and acceptable. Although older workers are more commonly victimized by age discrimination, younger employees may also fall victim to it. Accordingly, the knowledge and talent of an experienced age discrimination lawyer are essential for the prosecution of your claim.
The 4 Types of Age Discrimination
Age discrimination can be overt and easily seen, or it can be camouflaged, making it more difficult to detect and prove. In general, there are four recognized types of age discrimination: 1) direct discrimination; 2) indirect discrimination; 3) harassment; and 4) victimization.
Direct discrimination is the easiest to recognize. In a classic case, it can be seen where, in a similar situation, and because of your age, you are treated worse, or differently than a colleague. For example, you are informed that a higher paying position is being created within the company, a prerequisite for which is a special course. However, you are informed by your employer that due to your age, you will not be accepted for the course. Unless the company can articulate a legitimate reason for their policy, you may have a solid age discrimination claim.
Indirect discrimination is more subtle. A company might have a policy that applies to all employees, regardless of their age. However, employees of a certain age are disproportionately impacted by the policy. Unless the company can articulate a legitimate reason for the policy which would objectively justify it, such indirect age discrimination is impermissible.
In a typical harassment case, the victim is shamed and ridiculed by a supervisor and told that his age prevents him from learning a new technical skill. Management has a duty to prevent a supervisor from making such comments to a lower-ranked employer. If it fails to do so, the harassed employee will be able to file a claim against the company.
Victimization occurs after you make, or support a colleague’s claim of age discrimination, and are subsequently retaliated against by the company. This is never justified.
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975
This Act, which applies to any activity or entity that receives monetary aid from the federal government, prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. It is the statutory basis for most age discrimination lawsuits.
Ageism in the Workplace – Examples of Age Discrimination
Simply stated, ageism in the workplace, or age discrimination, is a prejudice against someone because of their age.
Obvious examples of age discrimination include firing or otherwise badly treating an employee because of the individual’s age.
Other examples of age discrimination are less overt and more subtle and can occur during the hiring phase or in the workplace. These include:
- A hiring process that discourages an older employee from applying;
- The hiring of younger, less experienced workers under the assumption that an older worker will always demand a higher salary;
- Situations where older and more qualified employees are not considered for new projects and are bypassed, without clear explanation, from higher-paying promotions;
- Layoffs which include a higher percentage of older and more experienced workers than younger workers;
- The exclusion of older workers from off-hour social events;
- An assumption by management that more senior employees, solely because of their age, will be less able to grasp new technologies; and
- Management’s refusal to condemn insensitive remarks about a worker’s age, disguised as mere jokes, intentionally belittle the older employee.
Unless the company has a justifiably valid reason for the above conduct, a victim of such conduct will likely be protected by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Discriminated Against Based on Age?
Live in Idaho and believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your age? Your first step must be to contact a law firm knowledgeable in both employment and anti-discrimination law to evaluate your potential legal claim. Fortunately, such a firm exists in Boise, Idaho Employment Law Solutions.
For a small initial consultation fee of $75, the firm will examine whether your claim has legal merit. If it does, and you decide to retain our firm, we will explain in detail the many steps involved in advancing your claim and settling the matter to your satisfaction. We have extensive experience litigating age discrimination claims and will always advocate diligently on your behalf.
Contact an Idaho Employment Lawyer
Idaho Employment Law Solutions is an African-American and Veteran-owned law firm providing quality and efficient legal counsel to businesses, organizations, employers/employees, and individual multi-cultural clients located throughout Idaho.
Idaho Employment Law Solutions is skilled in handling discrimination charges based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, national origin and pregnancy submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Idaho Employment Law Solutions has extensive experience in handling employee complaints about discrimination or harassment before those complaints become official charges of discrimination. Idaho Employment Law Solutions is experienced in guiding its business clients through sexual harassment investigations and provides advice on a case-by-case basis about the most effective way for the employer and employee to address discrimination claims. Contact us today at (208) 672-6112.