Indiana residents may familiar with the term “equal opportunity employer.” This is often added to help wanted ads to indicate that an employer does not discriminate based on factors such as race, religion or age. While the laws concerning race based discrimination are fairly comprehensive, the rules relating to age discrimination are not so straightforward.
The most significant piece of federal legislation concerning age discrimination is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. This statute strictly forbids discrimination in the workplace based on age, but it only protects those who are 40 years of age or older. Younger employees are given no protection by the law, and only companies with at least 20 workers must abide by the ADEA. Some states have passed laws that apply age discrimination laws to smaller businesses, and Indiana companies with six or more employees must follow the rules.
Another piece of legislation covering age based discrimination is the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. This law forbids discrimination based on age even to those under the age of 40, but it only applies to employers that receive all or part of their funding from the federal government. Examples of this type of employer include institutions of higher education that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education.
Claims of discrimination in the workplace may sometimes be difficult to substantiate. Employers often realize that their actions could be subject to scrutiny, and they may take steps to ensure that their practices appear to be fully compliant with discrimination laws. However, that does not mean that employees have no legal remedies available. An attorney with experience in this type of litigation may be practiced at identifying discriminatory practices even when employers make efforts to conceal them. This type of expertise could prove to be decisive in a discrimination claim.
Source: PayScale, “Are You Old Enough to Be Protected From Age Discrimination?“, Beth Taylor, June 03, 2014