Older workers offer significant experience and maturity to the work force, but unfortunately age discrimination continues to be one of the fastest growing types of employment discrimination claims. In an effort to combat this growing problem, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA makes age discrimination illegal and provides legal protection for those fired – or experiencing any type of adverse employment action – because of their age. The ADEA also protects those people who complain about age discrimination or participate in another’s age discrimination claim from retaliation. The ADEA applies to people 40 years or older.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly at work as the result of your age, speaking to a knowledgeable Georgia age discrimination lawyer is an important step to determine your rights and evaluate your next steps.
In an effort to reflect recent Supreme Court rulings concerning the ADEA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just approved a draft ADEA final rule amending the current (ADEA). The Supreme Court decisions concern the “reasonable factor other than age” (RFOA) defense that provides that employers may have a defense to ADEA violations if they can show that an employment decision is based on “reasonable factors other than age.” The rulings, Smith v. City of Jackson andMeacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories determined that the RFOA defense should be based on the “facts and circumstances” of each case and whether an employer made the best decisions in light of those facts. The amendments seek to adopt a “balancing approach” to protect workers from discrimination and protect older workers from facially neutral employment practices that disparately impact employment.
Additionally, the amendments provide various factors that may be considered to determine whether a particular business decision was reasonable. These include issues such as the extent and severity of the harm to an older worker and whether other options existed.
Based on the recent Supreme Court cases, the new rule emphasizes a case-by-case approach to age discrimination cases.
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your age or have questions concerning how the new rule may impact you, contact the knowledgeable Atlanta employment lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for a confidential case evaluation.