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The law on age discrimination

Age discrimination in an employee recruitment or working environment is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This means that employees or job applicants should not be treated less favorably because of age.

This blog will act as a brief overview on the laws and regulations surrounding age discrimination.

Who does the ADEA cover?

The ADEA protects specifically the people who are likely to be subject to age discrimination. Workers who are age 40 and older are protected from age-based discrimination relating to the terms of employment. However, the ADEA does not apply to all companies. It applies to companies, organizations, agencies, states and governments with 20 or more employees.

How does age discrimination law relate to harassment?

The same people that are covered by the ADEA are also protected from harassment that is done in relation to age. This is only applicable if the harassment is severe enough to create a hostile working environment for the affected worker.

What are the exceptions?

As already mentioned, the ADEA only applies for organizations larger than 20 persons. Other exceptions include:

  • Reasonable factors other than age (RFOA) are a permissible excuse for different treatment. These factors may be the employee's experience or education.
  • Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) is a legitimate reason to not employ someone based on his or her age. It must be proven in this case that a person of a certain age would not be able to fully perform the duties of the role.

Filing a claim

If you think that you are covered under the ADEA, or if you have any questions about filing an age discrimination claim, you may want seek legal advice to have your situation assessed.

Source: Find law, "Age discrimination law," accessed July 27, 2017

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