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50 Years of the ADEA

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) has turned 50. The Act aims to “promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age,” after Congressional findings detailed the ways in which older Americans were passed over for employment in favor of younger people. Due to the ADEA, it is illegal to discriminate against applicants or employees who are 40 years old or older by way of firing, refusing to hire, segregating, or reducing pay based solely upon the individual’s age. Additionally, employees must be offered equal benefits by their employers.

In honor of the ADEA’s anniversary, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is “paying special attention to the ongoing problem of age discrimination.” In observation, the EEOC publicized three of their current cases related to age-based discrimination in the workplace within the last month.

In the earliest of the three cases from the EEOC, a sixty-year-old applicant was denied a valet job from Eagle Parking due to her age and the hiring manager’s doubt that she could endure the “physicality of the job.” The applicant was immediately disqualified from the job by the company’s hiring manager, who then told the applicant she would be better suited for a job in the company’s customer service department. When the applicant called to confirm the time of her first day of work, she was informed that the job had already been filled by someone else. She later learned that the preferred employees were much younger people.

Allegations abound regarding similar allegations levied against Horizontal Well Drillers in St. Louis, following their exclusion of applicants based on age. The company also required a medical examination after offering a job to an applicant, only to rescind the offer once they received the details of the examination. Both the exclusion of applicants based on their age and the requirement of a post-offer medical examination are unlawful.

Lastly, the EEOC charged Keer America Corporation for firing an employee after learning his age from his driver’s license. Upon discovering that the employee was 47, one of Keer America’s managers tasked HR with repealing the job offer. HR refused to do this, and the employee was later fired after two weeks of work. In response to this firing, Lynette A. Barnes, the regional attorney for the EEOC, stated that, “Employers must remember that they cannot consider age in hiring selections or other employment decisions.”

Federal employment attorneys are in the position to aid those facing age-based discrimination. If you are a federal employee who believes they are being discriminated against for their age, consider setting up a consultation with an attorney to ensure that you are receiving all of your rights under the ADEA.