Sometimes we do not need to meet specific educational requirements to advance in our careers. Our job performance over time often makes us candidates for a promotion, especially if we have worked at our job for many years. It can be frustrating, then, if you are an older, experienced worker and you are being passed up for a promotion in favor of younger workers. When do such acts rise to the level of age discrimination?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is the federal law on age discrimination. Under the ADEA a worker age 40 or above cannot be discriminated against based on their age. However, if both of the workers are age 40 or above it is not unlawful for an employer to favor one of the workers over the other. Discrimination can take place, however, if both the victim and the person discriminating against them are both over age 40. Age discrimination can take place in many situations, including hiring, layoffs, pay, job assignments, promotions, benefits and any other condition of employment.
It is also against federal law to harass a worker based on their age. Harassment includes making offensive or derogatory statements about how old a person is. Mere teasing or isolated incidents that are not very serious do not count as harassment. The conduct must be so frequent or severe that it leads to adverse employment decisions or a hostile workplace. Supervisors, co-workers or third parties such as customers can all commit harassment.
Learn more about your rights
If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination or harassment at the workplace, you will want to learn more about your rights and options. Depending on the circumstances you may be able to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Doing so can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.