How To Understand the Age Discrimination Law

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 aims to foster the spirit of equal opportunity among workers and protects individuals aged 40 and above against any form of discrimination from employers or agencies alike. Though sections of this law are made available online for popular reading, many people are not aware of the technicality involved and the lawful jargon used in the text. We are going to simplify what the law means and how it can really elevate the working status of elderly workers.

The congressional statement expressed in the law itself states the fact that older workers are disadvantaged when it comes to keeping their jobs since many companies prefer younger employees on the assumption that the latter is more productive. It is also observed that older employees tend to be disfavored when it comes to reapplication as the company could easily acquire new and younger workers. The sad truth is, Congress notes, the number of unemployed older workers is rising which means the deterioration of skills by the unemployed elderly worker aggravate his already slim chances of landing a job.

Since the aim of the Age Discrimination Law is to protect matured workers in the United States, the law specifically mentions certain prohibitions that include:

  • Refusing to hire an employee on account to his age instead of other more important qualifications such as skills, expertise and experiences.
  • Segregating a company's employees to deprive workers of any opportunities and affect his status as an employee due to his age.
  • Failing or rejecting to refer an elderly applicant for employment despite meeting the minimum qualifications on the job except age.
  • Expelling an individual from the labor organization based on the member's age or to cause the company to take actions against the union member on the same reason.
  • Advertising or publishing any notice that relates to the company's preferences, specifications and discrimination based on age.

On one end, the Age Discrimination Law also cites situations wherein the employers can regard a person's age as basis for employment. Such situations include:

  • It is not unlawful to consider the worker's age if the worker is in a foreign land not covered by the Age Discrimination Law. The existing laws on employment in that country will overrule this law.
  • It is also legal to deliver disciplinary actions or discharge any worker – young or old – for good cause.
  • For companies that are incorporated in a foreign land, the prohibitions included in the Act shall not be observed but the governing employment practices of the employer. At the same time, when the employer is a foreign person not controlled by an American employer, the inclusions in the Age Discrimination Act shall not be observed.
  • For Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers, it is not unlawful that the employer refuses or discharges an individual on account of his age if it deems fit.

The Age Discrimination Act is a way to uphold the rights of an individual to equal opportunity at work. With this law in place, we shouldn't worry about discrimination at the workplace.


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