According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination occurs when an employee or an applicant for employment is treated less favorably due to his or her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is the federal law that governs age discrimination in the United States. However, the Atlanta employment attorneys at Mays and Kerr, LLC warn that the ADEA protects only those individuals who are age 40 or older from employment discrimination. As many workers have experienced, age discrimination can happen at any level and any age.
Under the ADEA, it is illegal to discriminate against a person due to his or her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including:
Similarly, it is illegal under the ADEA to retaliate against any individual filing a charge of age discrimination, or participating in any investigation or lawsuit brought pursuant to the ADEA.
Furthermore, as our team of Atlanta employment attorneys at Mays and Kerr, LLC can advise, the ADEA prohibits the unlawful harassment of a person due to his or her age. Harassment might include offensive remarks about a person’s age, but only becomes unlawful when that conduct is so frequent and pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment or otherwise results in an adverse employment decision, such as termination or demotion. A one-time offensive remark relayed in jest or anger is generally not a suitable cause for action under the ADEA.
Moreover, the ADEA only applies to government entities and private employers who have 20 or more employees. It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations.
In addition to the ADEA, Georgia has established state laws that address age discrimination. This is advantageous for employees, as they may now file their claims on a state level, as opposed to the EEOC. Under the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, a state agency may not discriminate against any individual based on certain characteristics, including age. The Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity is the state agency that takes complaints on age discrimination and enforces the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978. Georgia state law has made it a misdemeanor crime to discriminate in hiring and employment matters against individuals between the ages of 40 and 70.
The team of experienced employment attorneys at Mays & Kerr is available to consult with employers and employees about age discrimination, or any other type of discrimination in the workplace. Contact our Atlanta office today to schedule a consultation.