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Age discrimination in the workplace

Age discrimination can be a concern for both those Indiana residents who are seeking employment and those already employed. It is considered an unfair labor practice for an employer to refuse employment or to dismiss an employee based strictly on the factor of age when an individual in question is between the ages of 40 and 75. Similarly, denial of membership in a labor organization such as a union based on age is deemed an unfair labor practice. This also applies to the activities of labor organizations in classifying members and referring them for employment.

In addition to addressing the specific actions of employers and labor organizations, Indiana law also addresses contracts related to age and employment. Contractual terms that may have been established between 1965 and 1979 allowing prevention of work based on an individual's age who is between 40 to 65 range is considered null and void. Similar terms in contracts dated between 1979 and 2009 affecting those between the ages of 40 and 70 years are considered to be null and void. Contracts entered into after June 30, 2009, extend this age range to 75 years.

In order to evaluate complaints related to age discrimination laws, the state's labor commissioner is designated to conduct an investigation and is given the authority to visit business locations to examine records. Additionally, employers are expected to keep accurate records related to age that are to be available as needed by the labor commissioner. Voluntary compliance is preferable, but formal complaints may be issued by the commissioner if necessary.

Because a time limit of four months is in place for reporting a violation of one's employment rights based on age discrimination, it is important to address a possible violation promptly. An individual who believes that age was the primary reason used in a dismissal or in a decision not to hire may want to discuss their concerns with an employment law attorney to determine what remedies may be available.

Source: IN.gov, "Indiana civil rights laws & regulations", September 19, 2014

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