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Questions about AEDA Law

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), protects both employees and applicants over 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in various aspects of employment. These include compensation, promotions, hiring, discharge, and other terms and conditions of employment. Often, dissatisfaction over compensation and severance pay lead to lawsuits against companies.

Below, some of the top questions on age discrimination laws are answered by legal experts.

Our company is laying off people and explicitly targeting older workers. I may be notified before turning 40 years, though I will reach that age by the separation date. Will I still have rights under ADEA?

To be eligible under ADEA, an employee will have to be 40 years at the time of notification of termination. Workers over 40 may receive higher pay than other employees, which might be considered a valid business reason for termination by the court. If you can prove beyond doubt that the company is specifically targeting employees approaching the age of 40, it would be considered in bad faith by the EEOC. However, such claims will be investigated by the EEOC before they are submitted in court.

My company is proposing a two-months’ severance pay if I sign the separation agreement though I have served 10 years. However, another employee got one month’s pay though he had worked only for a year. Is this discrimination under ADEA?

Companies are free to choose what severance pay they will award as the law does not mandate companies to pay severance. However, if the company has a written policy for calculating the severance pay, they are obliged to follow the procedure. Also, they may not do so in violation of anti-discrimination laws, which ensure the rights of protected groups.

Find out if they have a valid, non-discriminatory reason for awarding you a severance pay less than your colleague — is he senior in position or is the company financially weaker compared to last year? You may possibly be able to negotiate for a better severance pay, but the final pay out would be at their discretion.

Should there be a substantial difference in age to file a claim under the ADEA?

The U.S. Supreme Court case of Gross vs. FBL Financial Services 2009 explicitly states it is age itself and not age-difference that is a deciding factor in cases under ADEA. Also, the burden of proof that age was indeed the reason for an adverse employment decision lies with the plaintiff. Even in cases in which the plaintiff has produced some evidence to show age was a factor for discrimination, the burden of proof will not shift to the company. The Supreme Court decision, which applies to all parts of the country, also states there will no longer be a “historically disadvantaged” age classification applied to ADEA cases.

What’s the procedure for filing a complaint under ADEA with regards to discrimination under sex, race and age?

Local rules in federal district courts may vary on filing a federal complaint. You may have to show you were discriminated against because of your age, race, or sex and not a reason related to work situations. You would need to spell out the facts to state the actual basis for filing a suit and request for jury trial. If you wish to file a Title VII complaint, approach the EOCC with a complaint and obtain a right-to-sue letter. Since the statute of limitations is 180 days, you must file your complaint within that time.

As a 43-year-old African American, I feel that my severance pay has been unfair. Since it has an ADEA waiver, am I entitled to more than what those less than 40 years old receive?

Unless there is a written agreement to the contrary, your employer may treat you differently as long as it is not illegal discrimination, the definition for which includes discriminating based on age, race, sex, national origin, disability, FMLA usage, filing for worker’s compensation, or past, current or future military obligations. If you feel your employer’s actions fall within these definitions, you may make a claim with the EOCC against your employer. This charge must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation.

Employees over 40 years are protected under ADEA as long as the discrimination is based on a reasonable business decision. It is best to ask a legal expert about your specific case.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8108
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
characters left:
2 Employment Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

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Employment Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7759
JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9785
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

Recent ADEA Questions

  • I have been in the position of assistant nurse manager for

    I have been in the position of assistant nurse manager for a hospital operating room for 2 years. I have been an operating room registered nurse for 18 + years. I was hired for this position from within the hospital. During this time I have received positive reviews and have had no indication that my performance has not been to their satisfaction. I had also indicated that at some point in time in 2016, I might be considering retirement but had never made a formal statement in writing to human resources.
    I have just been informed that I will now have to start training a younger co-worker (who happens to have an advanced degree) to learn my position. I also have to begin acclimating a new nursing director to the operating room unit, who will be starting her job in January 2015. I have asked what my job will be after they have completed their indoctrination, which will probably be around the June timeframe and, I have not received any answers to my inquiry.
    My question is - can I be moved out of my position, as is being done, with the only reason being that the person they want to put in that position has a more advanced college degree? The hospital has mentioned that they are "not trying to force me out" but has not given any indication of what my alternatives will be. Since I have not been given an opportunity to move into a comparable position, and no other options are available, would this be considered a wrongful demotion/termination even though I have not been terminated yet?
    Thank you
    Paulette Choquette
  • I was terminated after eight years of service working for a

    I was terminated after eight years of service working for a native American tribe. In that eight years I never received any type of disciplinary action. I was terminated by the general manger when I called off sick two days with chronic pneumonia. He alleged that I didn't notify him correctly then promptly terminated me for insubordination. I have physical evidence in the form of an email that was sent to him twice notifying him what I was calling off for. There is more but that's the basics. I'm 60 years old and he was 33. he often told me I was too old to do the job he was looking for
  • I am a 62 year old, 20 year employee for a family owned company.

    I am a 62 year old, 20 year employee for a family owned company. I was called to the owners office and told that he is going to make changes and that younger people in the company were the future and I needed to figure out a way to retire or find another job by the end of the year. If I didn't he would fire me. As I stated earlier I am a 20 year employee and don't have any write ups during that time. The company does not have a retirement plan and I am not ready to quit working. Would you suggest some options for me.
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