Certain aspects of employment law protect more than gender, race and ethnicity. They also defend older employees from discrimination based on their age. The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine notes that in the next several years, a large portion of America’s workforce will include many individuals 55 years of age or older, with people over the age of 65 representing the fastest growing number of this group.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and 1975 prohibits employers from taking action based on a person’s age, giving both employers and employees the means to understand how this may affect hiring, firing and other employment practices.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids employers from making hiring decisions based on a person’s age. For example, if an individual possesses the skills and experience necessary for a position, that employer cannot hire another person simply because he or she is younger. This applies to all fields of employment.
Legal statutes also prevent employers and employees of any place of work to treat older employees differently because of their age. This includes intolerant behavior or discrimination disguised as humor. Employers may want to engage in sensitivity training to understand what kind of language is not acceptable under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Employers cannot cut wages or deny bonuses to employees 55 years of age or older and must pay them a fair wage as compared to others in their department and ability level. Employers also cannot exclude senior workers from overtime opportunities.
Age discrimination may occur at any level, from entry positions to executive jobs. Employers can protect themselves by learning and abiding by the rules outlined in the law’s guidelines.