Workplace discrimination, whether it happens during the hiring or firing process, affects thousands of people throughout the United States every year. The most common workplace discrimination types target race, gender, and age. Age discrimination is the fear of many loyal employees who are over 40. The idea of losing your position at your workplace simply because you are older than other employees is understandably frightening.
In the eyes of the law, a person must be 40 years or older to fall under the protections of anti-age discrimination laws. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) defines age discrimination as treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of their age. By defining the minimum age of eligibility as 40, an appropriately wide range of elderly people are covered under the law.
Four elements are considered when deciding whether or not a person is to be considered a victim of age discrimination.
Firstly, they must be within the protected class.
Secondly, they must have suffered harm from discrimination, such as a loss of wages, health insurance or other employee benefits.
Thirdly, it must be proven that they performed their job at an acceptable level and were not simply let go due to bad performance.
Finally, the other candidates for hiring/firing must not have been included within the protected class. This means that only the person being hired/fired can be of 40 years or older.
However, all four elements must not be required in order to successfully file an age discrimination lawsuit. One example of a case that was proven to be age discrimination, without all four elements being met completely, happened in the case Caputy v. Quad/Graphics, Inc. In this case, Caputy claimed to be a victim of age discrimination and met enough of the elements to have the motion to dismiss her lawsuit denied.
The element she did not meet had to do with the final provision discussed above. Although she was the oldest employee at 64, there were other employees older than 40 at Quad/Graphics. However, she was older than the next oldest employee by 11 years, which the courts deemed made her at risk of being singled out for age discrimination.
Knowing your rights when it comes to the hiring/firing process is of utmost importance, as it will keep you in a financially stable state. Always contact your attorney ASAP if you feel that you may be the victim of age discrimination.