Employers should covet the experience and reliability that older workers can provide. Nevertheless, the practice of instituting policies and engaging in conduct that tends to discourage and force out older workers is rampant across nearly every American industry and field. Age discrimination is not a new phenomenon and was enough of a problem even in 1967 that Congress felt compelled to enact the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Many states and municipalities, including New York, followed suit with their own prohibitions. Nevertheless, many employers continue to pass over older workers in favor of younger, less qualified alternatives. At Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP, we recognize this injustice and are committed to helping older workers achieve the respect and recognition they deserve, through litigation if necessary. We have prosecuted numerous age discrimination claims under state and federal law.What does the ADEA provide?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing and the terms of employment conditions of workers over the age of 40. ADEA applies to private enterprises with 20 or more employees. However, N.Y. and NYC laws typically provide similar protections for those working with smaller employers. Key ADEA provisions include:
- ADEA prohibits employers from discriminating against older employees in favor of younger employees. However, it does not apply vice versa.
- ADEA still applies if both employees are over the age of 40.
- ADEA does not affect the common practice of offering early retirement packages to older employees provided those employees are free to decline the offer without adverse effect.
- ADEA does allow the institution of mandatory retirement ages for certain individuals in high policy-making positions.
- ADEA may not prohibit age discrimination when the nature of the employment makes age a bone fide occupational qualification.
In addition to prohibiting these types of discrimination, ADEA also bans age-based harassment in the workplace and holds employers responsible for allowing or failing to address the type of hostile work environment such discrimination can engender.The challenges of enforcing ADEA
Like all allegations of discrimination, proving age discrimination under ADEA or an equivalent state or local law requires more than simply showing you are over the age of 40 and that you have suffered some adverse employment action. You must demonstrate a causal relationship between the two. Evidence may include statements made by your employer, the examination of past practices or the treatment of similarly situated younger employees, or by statistical analysis of the composition of the company's workforce.
Employers very rarely state directly that you are being fired or demoted because of your age and typically offer some more permissible explanation for their actions. A skilled NYC age discrimination lawyer can uncover the faults and inconsistencies in these ploys. Just because your employer claims to have a legitimate nondiscriminatory motive for its actions does not mean it is insulated from liability.Contact a respected age discrimination law firm in New York
Despite the legal prohibitions at both the federal and state level, age discrimination is still common in the United States. Unfortunately, many victimized workers do not stand up for themselves. If you believe you have been denied employment or promotion or have been forced to retire or resign because of your age, or if you have faced pervasive or severe age-based harassment in the workplace, our team of New York discrimination lawyers at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP may be able to help. Contact us today to arrange a complimentary intake analysis. We are available by phone toll free at 1.866.348.7394. We can also be reached online. Se habla espanol.