Age discrimination AT WORK

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against employees who over 40 years old in any of the terms and conditions of their employment.

  • Here are some examples that suggest age discrimination at work:

      • Company fired an executive in his 60’s, then replaced him with someone in their 30’s.

      • Manager asked an employee about intentions to retire in the near future.

      • Supervisor told an employee that they were “too old” to recruit younger people.

      • Using ageist references when referring to an employee, such as grandma, grampa, old timer, etc.

      • Disciplining an older worker, but not taking the same measures against a younger employee under the same or similar circumstances.

      • Asking older employees to find and/or train their replacements.

      • Upper management/executives making statements that the company needs to attract younger employees, or “fresh, new blood.”

      • A manager expressing that he was disappointed when an older employee had not yet retired.

      • Filling positions with only younger individuals while overlooking older employees / candidates who are more qualified.

      • A new manager terminating an older employee for not being a “good fit” with the company and hiring a substantially younger replacement.

      • Job advertisements that limit how much experience a candidate can have to qualify (i.e., no more than “x” number of years).


Consider the following before claiming age discrimination at work:

    • The ADEA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees.

        • However, if the company has less than 20 employees, check your state’s law. Some states offer similar protections that would cover the employer at issue.

    • The ADEA does not apply to employees who are under 40 years old.

    • The ADEA also protects employees from retaliation for complaining to their employer about age discrimination.  Filing an EEOC Charge and/or participating in another employee’s claim of age discrimination are also considered protected activity.

    • An ADEA claim must go through the EEOC process before filing a lawsuit.

    • Damages can include back pay, front pay, “liquidated damages,” attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation.

        • Liquidated damages = same amount as back pay

        • Under the ADEA you cannot get “compensatory damages” (sometimes referred to as damages for “pain & suffering” or “emotional distress”). 

If you believe that age discrimination has affected your employment


This web site (including links, blogs or other content) is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice.  Any interaction through this web site, including but not limited to any comments or the submission of a consultation request, does not create an expressed or implied attorney-client relationship. 

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