Sadly, age discrimination – or discriminating against individuals based on their age – exists in workplaces across the country. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than six in 10 employees ages 45 and older have experienced or witnessed age discrimination in the workplace, and a majority of older employees have reported that age discrimination is a barrier to employment. As a result, it is crucial to recognize what types of discriminatory practices there are and what they look like, as they can sometimes be obvious and egregious or sometimes more covert and subtle.
Direct discrimination occurs when there is blatant unfair treatment for one age group or individual compared to another in a similar situation. However, note that there are circumstances under which this is permitted and legal, for example, if the job involves manual labor and your age group is arguably vulnerable to injury.
Indirect discrimination describes more subtle actions by an employer, whereby the employer has a way of functioning such that members of your age-protected class experience disadvantages. Note, however, that the discrimination is legal if the employer can demonstrate that it is justified based on the work.
Harassment occurs when you are belittled, degraded, or insulted on the basis of your age, and there are no circumstances under which it is legal. You can file a claim against your harasser, as well as your employer if they fail to put effort into preventing the employee(s) from engaging in the harassment.
When an employer unfairly mistreats an employee because they filed a complaint alleging discrimination or assisted someone else who did, this constitutes victimization.
Some of the most obvious signs that your employer is engaging in age discrimination can include the following actions:
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a federal law that protects employees who are age 40 or older from discrimination in the workplace. However, it does not apply to workers who are under the age of 40 or to employers who have fewer than 20 employees. However, the Ohio (state) anti-age discrimination law only requires at least four employees in the workplace to apply.
Although it is prevalent, age discrimination can be challenging to prove because claimants must demonstrate that they were denied a job or assignment, demoted, and/or fired entirely due to their age. Employers can be crafty in coming up with excuses for these actions.
At Marshall, Forman & Schlein, LLC, we are committed to assisting our employee clients who have suffered due to age discrimination in the workplace. Contact us today to obtain a free consultation and find out more.
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