Age Discrimination — Laws and Facts

Here is a brief primer on age discrimination laws in the United States and some facts about how these laws work.

1. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 — also known as the ADEA, this law shields employees and job applicants aged 40 years old and older from being discriminated against in “hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” Not all applicants or employees are protected by this act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency, oversees enforcement of the ADEA.
2. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 — outlaws discrimination ‘on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.’ It applies to people of all ages and does allow certain distinctions and ‘factors other than age’ to be used to make decisions. The Civil Rights Center enforces this act.
3. The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 — This changed the ADEA to bar employers from refusing to pay out benefits to certain older workers.
4. Three key federal regulations also often have bearing on age discrimination cases, according to the Department of Labor’s website. These include:
29 CFR Part 37: This governs ‘the implementation of the non discrimination and equal opportunity provisions of the workforce investment act’
27 CFR Part 1625: This interprets aspects of the ADEA.
• 29 CFR Part 1626: This discusses the procedures that govern the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.

Other key points:

• In general, an employer may not use age limitations or preferences in advertisements unless there are so called “bona fide occupational qualifications.”

• Employers may ask a job applicant for his or her age or date of birth, but he or she can only do so for purposes that are not prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

• Employees may waive rights to claims under this Act, but the terms of such waivers are strict. For instance, the waiver has to be in writing, and it must be ‘in exchange for valuable consideration.’

• Employers may not retaliate against employees: for filing an age discrimination complaint; for testifying on behalf of another employee in an ADEA case; or for helping out with an investigation or with litigation pursuant to the ADEA.

For legal help with your age discrimination, harassment, or retaliation case, connect with the attorneys here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum. Our highly credentialed and results-oriented team can provide a free, no obligation consultation regarding your matter. Phone us now at (212) 688-5640, or explore our resources, philosophy, and process at

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