Age Discrimination

Older workers often face an uphill battle in the Maryland job market. Many employers want to replace older employees with younger workers who command lower wages and benefits. The economic logic seems compelling to cost-conscious managers: Hire two or three inexperienced workers for the same total cost as one experienced employee.

Such thinking is not only short-sighted, it is also illegal. Federal and state laws prohibit most private employers from practicing this sort of age discrimination. At The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C., our Baltimore age discrimination lawyers can help older workers who have been fired or denied employment determine if they have been victims of discrimination and take appropriate remedial action.

What is Protected Under Age Discrimination Laws in Baltimore?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law that applies to private businesses with at least 20 employees. The ADEA specifically protects workers who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination. In this context “discrimination” refers to just about every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, work assignments, and promotions.

It is important to note the ADEA only forbids discriminating against older workers in favor of younger workers. It is not considered age discrimination under federal law to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both persons are over 40. Nor can any person under 40 pursue an age discrimination claim under the ADEA.

However, there is also state law to consider. Maryland has its own employment regulations, which also ban age discrimination. But unlike the ADEA, Maryland does not establish a minimum age to bring an age discrimination case. So an employee under the age of 40 may have a claim under state law. In addition, Maryland law applies to private employers with just 15 employees, as opposed to the federal minimum requirement of 20.

What Constitutes Age Discrimination?

One of the most common forms of age discrimination is making layoffs (or “reductions in force”) that are superficially objective but are, in reality, a pretext for getting rid of older workers. Many employers are quite skilled at adopting subtle policies and practices that discriminate without the victim even fully realizing it. For example, a manager may tell a 45-year-old applicant that she is “overqualified” or that certain clients “feel more comfortable” working with younger employees.

There are also cases where older workers are subject to a hostile work environment. While making an occasional comment about someone’s age is not in and of itself illegal, if there are repeated statements or actions that target an employee due to his or her age, that may constitute illegal harassment under the ADEA and Maryland law.

Our Baltimore Age Discrimination Lawyers Can Help You

Age discrimination is never okay. If you suspect that your age has been used against you in an employment setting, you need to understand your rights under the law. Baltimore age discrimination attorney Jamaal (“Jay”) W. Stafford and his experienced legal team can review your situation and help you determine if you have a potential claim. Do not let age hold you back in the workforce. Contact or call the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C., today at (410) 514-6099 to schedule a consultation.