The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed into law in 1967. In the time since, many workers have continued to struggle with the perception that their age was a driving factor in them being fired, passed over for promotion or assigned to less desirable duties. If you're worried that you may have been the victim of age discrimination, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with ways you can protect your rights.
Thoroughly Document Everything
Nothing will make the folks at an age discrimination law services firm happier than to see you come into the office with copious notes. Even if you're not prepared to seek counsel, it's a good idea to start making notes of incidents. You should keep a journal that logs when things happened, who was present and what the general tone of the conversation was.
If potential acts of discrimination were recorded in some form, make copies. This includes many items like emails, text messages and memos. Those who live in one-party consent states may also make audio recordings of interactions. Saving voice messages is encouraged whether you live in a one-party consent state or not.
Who is Covered?
Based on the ADEA, it is illegal in the U.S. to discriminate against employees 40 years or older on the basis of age. The law applies to companies that have federal, state or local contracts. Similarly, federal, state and local governments are required to comply. Any business with 20 or more employees is subject to the ADEA, as are labor groups with a minimum of 25 members.
Understand the Definition of Discrimination
From the viewpoint of an age discrimination law attorney, not every incident involving an older worker is a case. There must be either direct evidence of discrimination or a provable pattern of treatment of older employees.
Direct evidence would include messages from bosses or owners stating their desire to fire someone because of age. These need to be recorded or to have several witnesses. A pattern would arise when firings, promotions, and other actions had disproportionately negative effects on many older workers at a business. The discovery process can be used to examine a company's personnel patterns.
It's a good idea to be on your best behavior when advancing a discrimination claim if you're still employed by the target of the case. Companies do retain the right to dismiss employees of age for good cause.