Age Discrimination: What It Is and How to Fight It

Discrimination comes in many forms, whether it’s regarding gender, race, or orientation, but one type that is often overlooked is age discrimination. Age discrimination is when an employer fires an employee purely based on their assumption that an employee is “too old” to be working. Age discrimination often disregards performance factors, meaning an older employee is often just as productive as younger peers, but is terminated anyways, solely due to age.

Individuals over 40 are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), an act that applies to employees and job applicants alike. The ADEA makes it unlawful to discriminate based on age during any phase of employment. In fact, employers aren’t even allowed to specify an age preference in job notices that they post. The only exception is if the age requirement is considered a “bona fide occupational qualification.”

While there are no explicit bans on requesting an individual’s age during the interview process, it can be considered age discrimination if it’s found that the request was made for discriminatory purposes. Furthermore, it prevents employer retaliation in cases where an older employee complains about practices that discriminate based on age.

An example case of age discrimination is that of Nini vs. Mercer County College. In the case, Rose Nini alleged that her contract as Dean of Mercer County College wasn’t renewed due to her age. Nini had been the Dean from 1982 to 2005 and was well over the age of 70 at the time of the refusal to renew. Nini stated that Dr. Robert Rose, the college president, had made many ageist remarks. One such remark was, “that it was her last chance to get an early retirement and leave with dignity.”

The lower court ruled in favor of the college, stating that they weren’t in violation of any anti-discrimination laws. However, upon review by the Court of Appeals and the New Jersey Supreme Court, it was found that refusing to renew a contract due to age is in violation of discrimination law.

Unfortunately this is only a single case out of a myriad of age discrimination cases that exist. Employees that feel they’ve been wrongfully terminated due to age discrimination should seek the employ of employment lawyers in Los Angeles. Southern California residents are able to lookup the services of Diefer Law Group, an experienced and competent team of employment lawyers in Los Angeles. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, call Diefer Law Group to set-up an appointment to figure out the steps to take moving forward.

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