The Sanders Firm, P.C. in New York advises and represents those who have claims regarding age discrimination in the job application process and employment. With an aging baby boom generation and workers remaining on the job beyond what used to be considered retirement age, discrimination associated with age has the opportunity to become more widespread and commonplace. Protection against age discrimination is afforded various acts, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
The ADEA offers those seeking employment and those employed protection against age discrimination in connection with hiring, employment termination, including layoffs and firings, and compensation, including pay and benefits. Discrimination in job assignments, training and to any terms, condition, or privilege of employment is unlawful and protected by the ADEA. Additionally, under the ADEA an employer may favor older workers even if in doing so that favoritism affects a younger job applicant or employee. ADEA protections pertain to businesses with 20 or more employees and covers employment agencies, labor unions, and local, state, and federal government.
Harassment is not permitted in the workplace, including harassment that is based on age. In addition, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who files a charge, complains about, testifies regarding or is involved in litigation pertaining to age discrimination and related to the ADEA. Harassment and retaliation are unlawful practices.
However, there are times when age may be a factor in someone’s employment. If age is considered a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) for the normal operation of a specific business, then action may not be taken against that business. In addition, action may not be taken concerning decisions made in relationship to a bona fide seniority system that is not intended to evade protections of the ADEA or to a bona fide employee benefit plan. If a worker over 40 is disciplined or terminated for good cause without regard to their age no action may be taken under the ADEA.
Further protection against age discrimination in the workplace was provided in 1990 when Congress amended the ADEA through a law known as the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). The OWBPA prohibits age discrimination in relationship to benefits. The OWBPA makes it unlawful for an employer to favor younger workers over older ones when offering severance agreements or early retirement packages.
However, it is lawful in some circumstances for an employer to reduce benefits to older employees, if the reduction makes the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger employees. Employers are permitted to coordinate retiree health benefit plans with a worker’s eligibility for Medicare or a comparable state-sponsored benefit.
If an employer requests that an employee waive their rights under the ADEA in order to settle a claim or as part of a severance or termination agreement, then specific minimum standards must be met. These standards are set by the ADEA as amended by the OWBPA and adherence to them is necessary for a waiver to be considered knowing and voluntary.
The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) apply to those who employ four or more workers. The protections under state and city laws are overall much broader, especially city law.
For example, the NYSHRL and NYCHRL prohibit 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.
Age discrimination is unlawful and The Sanders Firm P.C. is ready to assist you if you feel you have been treated unfairly. For job applicants or employees who believe they have a claim, please call the firm and we will discuss your case and the possibility of pursing a claim under the ADEA, NYSHRL, and NYCHRL and in some cases, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We can ably handle any questions related to severance agreements.
Contact The Sanders Firm, P.C. in New York. We will strive to protect your rights. We are your voice for justice in cases dealing with age discrimination and related issues.
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