Age discrimination is a real thing and happens more often than you may think. If you are a worker or a job applicant who is 40 or older, you are protected under Ohio law and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a federal law which applies to employers who have twenty or more employees. It is important to note that you have a limited amount of time to file your charge. Under Ohio law (the Ohio Revised Code), you have six months from the time of the unlawful discriminatory practice to file your claim. Under federal law, you typically have three hundred days.
The ADEA protects you in many ways. Under the ADEA, employers are not allowed to:
Mention age or specify that they prefer an applicant to be of a certain age in job ads or other recruiting materials. They may, however, be legally able to ask for your date of birth or graduation date on your job application.
Set age limits for training programs.
Force you to retire at a certain age. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so it is critical that you contact an age discrimination attorney to find out if you have a claim against your employer. (Also, be wary if your employer starts asking you about when you plan to retire; if you are later terminated, you may have grounds for an age discrimination claim. Read more about a specific case involving this very thing.)
You are also protected if you are a witness to such activity and complain about it. If you see something going on in your workplace that just does not seem right, you are legally allowed to speak up about it. Both Ohio and federal law prohibit employers from retaliating against you in situations such as these. Read our blog post about the difficulty of proving retaliation claims after a 2013 decision by the Supreme Court in Nassar v. University of Texas. The ruling made it much more difficult for Ohio and Cincinnati employment lawyers to prove retaliation claims, which is why it is extremely important that you have the right representation on your side.
Let’s say, for instance, that you have been teaching for years at the middle school level. You recently moved to Cincinnati and therefore are searching for a new teaching position. You apply to a school, and you feel quite confident that you will at least get an interview, as you are highly qualified with 25 years of teaching experience. However, you don’t even get a call. You find out that the school announced last year that they would no longer hire teachers with over twenty years of experience. You wonder if this was the reason you were not considered, given that you were qualified in every other aspect. You may have been a victim of age discrimination, and you may be eligible for damages.
This is just one example of unlawful treatment of a person in the workplace based on his or her age. Many companies are increasingly hiring employees who are well under the age of 40. At Google, for instance, the average age of its employees was 29 in 2013, according to payscale.com. Google is not the only “young” tech company that is out there. Here are the average ages at some of the bigger names in the tech world, according to the same survey by payscale.com:
- Facebook: 28
- LinkedIn: 29
- Amazon: 31
- Apple: 31
- Yahoo: 31
- Microsoft: 33
- Intel: 34
Of the 22 tech companies that were listed, Hewlett-Packard came in last with the “oldest” average age at 39 years old. This is definitely a trend for many companies; young blood is oftentimes viewed as the better blood. After all, the younger folk are considered to be in their “prime” and therefore are oftentimes the preferred candidates for jobs. In addition, many companies consider the fact that a younger worker will grow with the company, whereas an older worker may not be with them as long before they retire and have to be replaced. For all of these reasons, older workers who are equally as qualified sometimes get overlooked or cast aside for the younger ones.
Here in Cincinnati, Ohio, we have many newer companies with relatively young employees. The start-up scene here has attracted a lot of college graduates as well as the thirty-somethings. However, we also have a very capable working class in the forties, fifties, and sixties that is equally as deserving of fulfilling and supportive work. Our working sector simply cannot tolerate discrimination and other unlawful practices. The Cincinnati employment lawyers at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. are here to make sure that these injustices are not tolerated. We are here for people like you.
As age discrimination attorneys, we remind you of the importance of acting quickly in employment dispute situations. As mentioned before, there is a certain window of time in which you can bring such charges against an employer. After that time, you may be out of luck. Do not let this happen to you. Do not wait until it is too late.
If you believe you have been wronged in a work-related matter because of your age, contact us to see how we can help you. You may think that you are not protected by the law until you reach the age of 50 or 65, but this is a common misconception. Both federal and Ohio state laws protect employees who are 40 or older from illegal discriminatory practices based on age.
If you are looking for a job, you can protect yourself from age discrimination by paying close attention to the job requirements for the advertised position and making sure that you meet them. Keep copies of any ads for the position, in the event that you are passed over for a job for which you rightfully should have been considered. If you are an older employee who is already employed, pay close attention to personnel policies, contracts, and benefit plans; they should be in compliance with both federal and state law. If you see anything that raises a red flag, call the employment attorneys at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. in Cincinnati, Ohio.