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When can an employee bring an age discrimination claim?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination in workplaces, and also provides the basis for remedies should discrimination occur.  In sum, the ADEA sets forth that employment decisions affecting those workers 40 years or older must “shall be free of discrimination based on age.”  In instances where discrimination is proven, the worker may be able to recover damages such as back pay, lost benefits, and reinstatement. Further, in some instances, victims may be able to recover attorney’s fees. 

A main question to arise when bringing an employment discrimination action based on age is what qualifies as an example of age discrimination, and under what circumstances should a worker file a claim?  Because the answer differs depending on the facts of each case, it is always best to consult with a dedicated employment discrimination lawyer to discuss your situation and begin an investigation into your matter. 

Further – whether your employer is a private business, a state or local government, or a federal agency may affect how the laws apply in your matter.  In a significant age discrimination case pending before the Supreme Court, Babb v. Wilke, the Court will determine whether the employment decisions made by the Department of Veterans Affairs concerning a pharmacist were prohibited pursuant to the ADEA.  The pharmacist asserted that the VA’s decisions concerning her pay and potential promotion were the result of gender and age discrimination, as well as retaliation.  While private companies, as well as state and local governments much show that “but for” age discrimination, a negative employment decision would not have been made, the federal government follows a different test.  In these situations, employment decisions must be “made free from any discrimination based on age." 

This distinction may be significant. 

In any employment discrimination matter, if you have questions or believe you have been treated unfairly, it is important to contact a knowledgeable discrimination law firm who can review your situation and provide you with guidance concerning your next steps. 

For more information, please contact the experienced Georgia employment attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.