Age Discrimination In The Workplace

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act both prohibit age discrimination in the workplace. These statutes prohibit discrimination against, and harassment of, workers who are forty years of age or older. Despite these statutory protections, age-related workplace discrimination is still quite common.

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Forms of Age Discrimination

Below are 3 of the most common forms of age-related discrimination:

  • Employers that mistakenly assume that older employees are slower, less innovative, likely to make more mistakes, etc.
  • Employers that seek to remove older employees from their positions and replace them with younger less experienced employees.
  • Employers that violate the technical rules, such as failure to provide employees with age data during a reduction in force.

How to Identify Workplace Age Discrimination

It is challenging to prove age-related discrimination in the workplace. One way is to identify patterns where younger workers are treated more favorably compared to older workers.

Other evidence of age discrimination can include:

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  • Training, and apprenticeship, or any other program that has age limitations
  • A job advertisement or notice with an age limit
  • A layoff that targets mostly older employees
  • Being asked your age on a job application or in the hiring process
  • A severance regarding layoff that does not list the positions considered for the layoff, the ages of the retained, and the ages of the selected
  • Age-related remarks, such as being nicknamed “old man,” comments about the workforce being “long in the tooth,” etc.
  • Benefits packages that exclude older employees or offer greater benefits to younger employees

Age Discrimination Protection

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) also offers older employees some protection, particularly in mass lay-off situations. For instance, under OWBPA, employers are required to take certain steps when they ask employees to release age discrimination claims, including notices to seek legal counsel, specified periods of time in which to consider an offer to settle an age discrimination claim, and a seven day period in which to revoke acceptance of such an offer, among others.

Filing an Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The process of pursuing an age discrimination claim is lengthy, complex, and time-consuming. You will need an employment lawyer to represent you to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Employees typically have short time periods within which to bring claims, which is why you need a reputable lawyer in your community today. Avoid law firms that are not in your city or state, and if the firm looks like a far-off mill, then it probably is one. Firms located in other states who claim they have one lawyer licensed in your state are good ones to avoid. The National Employment Lawyers Association (www.nela.org) is an excellent resource to find a reputable employment attorney in your area. In Texas, the Texas Employment Lawyers Association (www.mytela.org) is another great resource.

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