It has been 50 years since the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was first enacted in an effort to address ageism in the workplace. The ADEA was enacted to remove age discrimination from the workplace, with its stated purpose to “to promote the employment of older workers based on ability rather than age, prevent discrimination, and help solve the problems that arise with an aging workforce.”
In practice, the ADEA is designed to prohibits discrimination against individuals over the age of 40. Like the other discrimination laws, if you are over 40, your employer may not discriminate against you on the basis of your age, and you are also protected from harassment on the basis of your age.
However unfortunately, age discrimination continues to exist and is one of the fastest growing areas of discrimination, as “baby boomers” age and want to stay in the workplace.
Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicate that for the last decade, more than 20,000 complaints of alleged age discrimination have been filed, with a total of 20,857 in 2016. Although some things have changed since the act was enacted in 1967 (such as the placement of arbitrary age restrictions on certain jobs), other problems remain.
For example, older workers often rightfully demand higher pay. Employers wanting to save money, may tend to hire younger workers in order to avoid paying the higher wages. However, when an employer promotes or hires a less skilled worker instead of a similarly situated older worker, then discrimination may be at play. Further, unemployment is higher among older workers who want to find jobs.
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your age, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced Atlanta employment law attorney.
For more information, please contact our Georgia employment lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.