New York Age Discrimination Lawyer
As the baby boom generation ages, and older workers remain in the work force for longer periods, the laws that govern discrimination on the basis of age will only become more important. The Sanders Firm, P.C., is available to advise and represent employees alleging age discrimination in employment.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, better known as the “ADEA,” protects individuals who are 40 years or older from employment discrimination based upon age. The ADEA’S protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Specifically, under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training. The ADEA permits employers to favor older workers based on age even when doing so adversely affects a younger worker or job applicant who is 40 or older.
The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including federal, state and local governments as well as employment agencies and labor organizations.
It is unlawful to harass a person because of his/her age. It is also unlawful to retaliate against a person because he/she opposes employment practices that discriminates based on age or for filing a charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or other litigation related to the ADEA.
It shall not be unlawful for an employer, employment agency or a labor organization to take any action otherwise prohibited where (1) age is a bona fide occupational qualification “BFOQ” reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business… (2)(A) to take any action otherwise prohibited to observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system that is not intended to evade the purposes of this chapter… (B) to observe the terms of a bona fide employee benefit plan…or (3) to discharge or otherwise discipline an individual for good cause.
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)
In 1990, Congress amended the ADEA through a law known as the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act “OWBPA” to provide further protection to older employees with respect to employee benefits. The OWBPA prohibits discrimination with respect to employee benefits based on age, and prohibits employers from offering certain types of severance agreements or early retirement packages if those offers improperly favor younger workers over older ones. In some circumstances, an employer is permitted to reduce benefits to older employees, if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger employees. Employers are permitted to coordinate retiree health benefit plans with eligibility for Medicare or a comparable state-sponsored benefit.
In some cases, an employer will ask an employee to waive their rights under the ADEA in order to settle a claim or as part of a severance or termination agreement. The ADEA as amended by the OWBPA, sets out specific minimum standards that must be met in order for a waiver to be considered knowing and voluntary.
State and City Laws
The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) applies to employers with 4 or more employees and offers broader protections. For example, the NYSHRL and NYCHRL prohibits age discrimination against anyone over 18 years of age. Additionally, under the NYCHRL, the “but-for” causation standard does not apply to age discrimination claims. Rather, the NYCHRL requires only that a plaintiff prove that age was “a motivating factor” for an adverse employment action. In 2005, the New York City Council explicitly rejected the notion that the NYCHRL is equivalent to its federal counterparts, despite any textual similarities between them.
Often employees or applicants will pursue claims of discrimination under the ADEA, the NYSHRL and NYCHRL and in some cases, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Sanders Firm, P.C., is experienced in handling such matters.
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of age discrimination, or would like to have an attorney review a severance agreement to ensure that your rights are protected, contact the New York Age Discrimination Lawyer at The Sanders Firm, P.C., 800-371-4835, today.