50th Anniversary of Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act – What It Is & Why It’s Important
Written by Cooper and Friedman on December 5, 2017
After years of workplace discrimination being unreported and going unpunished, the United States government acted. In 1967, they passed the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill into law and provided equal employment opportunities that were not covered in the seventh title of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Now, 50 years later, the ADEA is still in place. It is as effective as before in protecting employees over the age of 40 from workplace discrimination.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is applicable to employers that have 20 or more workers and protects those employees who qualify from age discrimination in the workplace. The ADEA protects employees over the age of 40 from age discrimination in work situation. Work situations include: hiring, promoting, discharging, compensating, or employment privileges. The ADEA also protects employees over the age of 40 from harassment and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that it is “unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.”
The ADEA is a federal law that is applicable to all employers within the United States. In addition to the federal ADEA, each state sets its own laws that protect older employees and prohibit age discrimination. These state laws often apply to employers with less than 20 employees. State laws, in combination with federal laws, ensure that regardless of the size of the company, employees over the age of 40 are protected from discrimination.
Why Is the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act Important?
In 1967, the ADEA was enacted to promote employing older Americans based on their ability to work, not their age. It was also enacted to prevent discrimination and to solve the issues that came with an aging workforce. It is important, especially in this day and age, because four generations of workers are currently occupying the workforce: baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Millennials. As the younger generations enter the workforce, the ADEA protects the older generations from being fired or demoted due to their age.
While most people equate age with experience, employers in certain fields tend to equate age with loss. Whether employers think that aging employees are causing them to lose money or time, the ADEA protects employees from being fired for illegitimate age-related reasons. In turn, the ADEA ensures that the best of our workforce in America is given fair treatment and equal opportunities.
With the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it would seem that discrimination in the workplace would not exist.
However, discrimination does still occur in the workplace and people are mistreated because of their age. With the help of the ADEA, those that are mistreated and experience discrimination can be compensated fairly. In turn, the discriminators can be prosecuted and punished for their mistreatment of older employees.
If you live in the Louisville, KY area and feel that you are a victim of age-related discrimination, contact Cooper & Friedman today. With over 50 years of combined experience in the legal field, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today by calling 502-459-7555 or fill out our Contact Us form online.