ADEA Law, Explained by Attorney

ADEA – Law Bars Age Discrimination in Employment

An Introduction to ADEA

Age Discrimination in Employment Act or ADEA was legalized in 1967. The Act forbids age discrimination while employing any individual aged 40 years and above.

ADEA Attorney

The ACT applies to a company with 20 employees or more.

The History of ADEA

  • The Act was originally written in 1961.
  • The ADEA bill was signed by the then President of USA, Lyndon B. Johnson, into a law.
  • ADEA was later revised in 1986 and then again in 1991, in line with two major USC acts – Older Workers Benefits Protection Act and Civil Rights Act 1991.
  • The Act appears as the Chapter 14 of United States Code, in volume 29 and runs from section 621 through section 634.
  • The Act is also applicable to pension standards, employer-provided benefits and necessitates that general public must be provided with the information regarding the needs of elderly workers.  
  • The ADEA, however, does not ban an/a employer/company from favoring an older staff member over a younger member, both above 40 years of age.

ADEA Protections for Employees

The ADEA enforces a comprehensive ban against discrimination of age and also prohibits the following in particular.

  • Inequity in the process of hiring, while considering candidates for promotion, deciding on the wages, and during layoffs or termination of employment.
  • Statements or specifications in employment notices or job advertisements, suggesting age preferences or pertinent restrictions.
  • Dissent of benefits for employees over a certain age bracket. The Act specifies that an employer may curtail benefits subject to age only if the expenditure of offering older employees with reduced benefits is equal to that of providing younger staff with benefits in their entirety.
  • Since the year 1986, ADEA has banned mandatory retirement in a majority of sectors, with partial elimination of the same for tenured employees since 1993.
  • The Act permits age-based mandatory retirement in case of executives, 65 years or above, in highly decisive policy-making positions. These persons are those entitled to an annual pension of over a specified minimum amount.

The Role of Employers

According to ADEA, employers must strictly follow the instructions laid in the Act, barring a few exceptions to the rule, which are as follows:

  • Employers have the right to enforce voluntary waivers for age discrimination claims that do not have EOCC or approval of law.
  • Employers may discipline or even discharge any employee, regardless of their age, for a “good cause”.
  • Employers may take required actions based on other reasonable factors except age.
  • Employers may offer incentives for early retirement but not enforce the same.

How Should An Employee Proceed if Subjected to Age Discrimination?

In case of an ADEA violation that an employee may have been subjected to, the employee must contact a board-certified attorney in employment law. Contacting the attorney is inevitable as they will first determine the validity of the case.

Damages That May be Recovered

The remedies for ADEA include reinstatement as well as back pay for the employee. In case of reinstatement is not viable and/or the employer’s ADEA violation is intentional, remedy includes damages.

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