What You Need to Know About the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

gavel and age discrimination formThe Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 protects older employees from discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, despite the ADEA, age discrimination still remains a persistent employment problem.

Older employees often experience substandard treatment by employers compared to their younger counterparts.

This ADEA outline provided by the Arnold Law Firm’s committed Sacramento employment attorneys will help you understand your rights as an employee.

What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)?

The ADEA provides federal protection to workers and job applicants over the age of 40 against age discrimination in all levels of employment. It applies to most employers, including:

  • Employers with at least 20 employees
  • Employment agencies
  • The federal government
  • State and local governments
  • Labor organizations with at least 25 members

Employers are prohibited from making any major decisions regarding employment opportunities based on age. These include:

  • Stating that a specific age range is preferred in job advertisements and recruitment attempts
  • Setting age limits for applicants allowed into training programs
  • Retaliating against an employee who has filed charges of age discrimination or is assisting in a government investigation
  • Forcing an employee to retire once he or she has reached a certain age

Each state also incorporates its own version of employment discrimination laws along with the rights guaranteed by the ADEA. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act further protects workers 40 and older, applying to employers with just five or more employees.

How Does the ADEA Protect Me?

Under the ADEA, it is illegal for an employer, employment agency or labor organization to discriminate or mistreat an employee solely based on his or her age.


An employer cannot refuse to hire or dismiss any individual with respect to his or her wages, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual’s age.

Employers are also prohibited from limiting, segregating or classifying an individual in any way that would deprive him or her of employment opportunities or harm the individual’s status as an employee because of his or her age.

The ADEA prohibits employers from reducing the wage rate of any employee based on his or her age.

Employment Agencies

Employment agencies must not refuse an older applicant for an open employment position referral because of his or her age.

Labor Organizations

The ADEA bars labor organizations from excluding, expelling or discriminating against individuals within its organization because of their age.

A labor organization is not allowed to segregate or classify its older members in a way that would deprive the member of any employment opportunities or would affect the member’s status as an employee or as an applicant for employment.

Can I File a Claim for Age Discrimination?

If you have been discriminated against by an employer because of your age, you are entitled to file a claim.

The ADEA provides extensive protection to victims of workplace age discrimination. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who is attempting to bring a claim and may face severe penalties if they do.

However, it can be difficult to bring a claim based on age discrimination. You will need to have definitive proof showing that you were treated differently based on your age and that you were prevented the same rights or employment opportunities extended to a younger employee.

You should carefully document any comments or actions made by your employer after filing your claim. This includes remarks about your age that you believe were discriminatory. Collect emails, memos and other documents that can be used as physical evidence to support your claim.

Before you take steps to file a lawsuit, you should first file a charge of discrimination with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), preferably within 180 of the discriminatory action.

The EEOC will then inform your employer of its investigation and determine if your charge is substantial. Your employer will be given a change to reconcile the situation and remedy the act of discrimination. If the EEOC is unable to resolve the situation, it will consider filing a lawsuit on your behalf. However, this is highly unlikely.

The EEOC will issue a “right to sue” after it has terminated its proceedings, which entitles you to file a case in federal court. Your deadline to bring a federal case is within 60 days after filing a charge with the EEOC and up to 90 days after you receive the “right to sue” letter from the EEOC.

Our attorneys have helped victims of age discrimination and understand what it takes to successfully build a case to support your claim. We will assist you during every step of the claims process help you prove that you were discriminated against because of your age.

Contact Our Reputable Employment Law Attorneys

Although the ADEA protects the rights of older workers, age discrimination is still a common violation that occurs in the workplace.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have been discriminated against because of your age. We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. This means you are not charged upfront for legal fees and only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call (916) 777-7777 to get started today.