The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently sued Fannin County, Georgia for age discrimination on the basis that the county violated the law by choosing to layoff employees who were over 60 years of age. According to the lawsuit, the Fannin County Road Department decided to reduce its workforce back in November 2011. There were 11 people chosen to be laid off, four of whom were younger than 60 years of age and seven of whom were older than 60. Subsequently, the County ended up rehiring three of the four employees who were under 60 within a few months of being laid off; however, the County did not rehire any of the employees who were older than 60.
Your Atlanta discrimination attorney might tell you that Fannin County’s actions specifically violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are 40 years old or older due to their age. The EEOC tried to reach an agreement with the County prior to filing the lawsuit; however, a settlement was unable to be reached. That said, as part of the lawsuit, the Commission is asking for the older employees to be given back pay, liquidated damages and injunctive relief that is designed to prevent similar discrimination in the future.
What is Covered by the ADEA?
In general, age discrimination is treating someone less favorably based on his or her age. Individuals should be aware that the ADEA only forbids discrimination against those people who are at least 40 years old or older, not those people who are under 40. In fact, according to the EEOC, discrimination can take place even if both the victim and the discriminating individual are older than 40 years of age. Additionally, individuals should also note that it is not illegal under the law for an employer or any other entity covered by the Act to show a preference for older workers over younger workers, even if both groups of workers are made up of individuals who are 40 years old or older.
Age Discrimination in the Workplace
Under the law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with respect to any aspect of employment, to include firing, hiring, pay, fringe benefits and all other terms and/or conditions of employment on the basis of age.
Your Atlanta discrimination attorney is well aware of the laws governing discrimination in the workplace, particularly the rules regarding age discrimination in employment practices and/or policies. For instance, if an employer has a practice or policy that is applicable to every worker regardless of age, that policy and/or practice can still be deemed illegal if it negatively impacts employees and/or applicants who are 40 years of age or older, and is not based on reasonable factors other than age.
If you believe that you have been the victim of age discrimination in the workplace or have been denied a job on the basis of age, you are advised to contact an Atlanta discrimination attorney at Parks, Chesin & Walbert today. Let us help you fight for your rights.