The Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects anyone over 40 years old from discrimination due to age in the workplace. While the act originally was written for private employers with 20 or more employees, it was extended to public employers in 1971.
Now, the Supreme Court ruled in November that the federal Age Discrimination Act does indeed apply to state and federal agencies, regardless of their size.
The ruling was in response to two Arizona firefighters who claimed that they were laid off due to their age, and marks an important milestone for combating discrimination in the workplace. Both firefighters were reported to be the oldest of the thirteen firefighters on the department, and both were earning higher salaries than their co-workers.
What are the Signs?
Age discrimination may be hard to detect, and once detected, even harder to prove. In some cases, an organization may not be aware that their practices qualify as age discrimination.
For those who may believe they are the target of age discrimination, the ADEA considers the following to be warning signs:
- Younger Workers: A company has a pattern of firing and replacing older workers with younger employees
- Age Related Comments: Age related jokes, talks of retirement, and demeaning tones are part of the work environment.
- Job Reassignment: An unpleasant job reassignment is often a sign that a company is trying to get a worker to quit.
- Unfair Performance Reviews: If performance reviews suddenly tank, chances are a company has decided to get rid of older, more expensive workers.
- Lack of Raises or Promotions: Promotions and raises are reserved for younger, less experienced staff.
Age discrimination is not just about a person’s chronological age or an assumption about outdated professional knowledge. Age discrimination is often rooted in the fact that older workers are more experienced, therefore commanding higher salaries.
Those in their 30’s and 40’s have often mastered their field, so an employee does not have to be close to retirement age to be a victim of this type of discrimination. Additionally, employers may have what they feel is a genuine concern that their best employees will retire soon and take their expertise with them.
According to the AARP, employees can protect themselves from several forms of age discrimination by being proactive. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Staying up to date with industry developments
- Being alert for ways to consistently improve performance
- Making it clear to management that there are no plans for retirement.
Marlton Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Protect Employees from Discrimination in the Workplace
If you would like more information on identifying discrimination in the workplace or believe that you are the target of age discrimination, a Marlton employment discrimination lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. is ready to help you obtain the justice you deserve. We are experienced in all facets of New Jersey employment law and will tirelessly work for the compensation you are entitled to.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.