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Age discrimination in the workplace

Residents of Indiana might be interested to learn about the federal laws concerning age discrimination in the workplace. One of the most well known laws that can help to protect workers from employer age discrimination is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act that was originally enacted in 1967. The provisions laid out in the ADEA make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of age against a job applicant or employee who is 40 years of age or older.

Under the ADEA, those workers are protected from age discrimination at any point during the hiring process including the interview and the application. Employers are also required to refrain from making choices regarding promotion and downsizing based on the age of certain employees. Health insurance benefits cannot be reduced for an older employee, and employers are not allowed to force an employee to retire early.

In some situations, an employee may choose to sign an agreement with their employer to forfeit their ADEA rights. This type of waiver would normally be signed in exchange for the employer's offer of some type of severance package. In order for such waivers to be legal, they must be written in understandable language, refer specifically to ADEA rights and not contain any renunciation of future rights. The employee must also be given 21 days or more to make a decision about the waiver.

If employees believe that they are being discriminated against because of their age, it may be in their best interest to speak with an employment law attorney before signing an ADEA waiver. In some cases, there is enough evidence of age discrimination in the workplace to build a strong lawsuit.

Source: Findlaw, "Age Discrimination in Employment", September 04, 2014

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