Types of Age Discrimination

August 17, 2017
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

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According to an April 2016 article in the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County entered into a partial settlement to resolve an age discrimination lawsuit against it relating to its pension system. The lawsuit, which was filed 10 years ago by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleged the pension system discriminated against older workers for years in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

According to the settlement, unions and the county are prohibited from making employees 40 years or older contribute a higher amount of money to their pension plans. The change will take place over a three-year period. The contributions will depend on the employee’s classification.

The litigation began in 2007 when the EEOC sued the County, alleging the then pension system violated the ADEA. The labor unions that represented the employees also were included as defendants because any change to the pension contribution amounts required the approval of the labor unions.   

A federal judge found the pension program discriminated against people because of their age. Older employees had to pay more toward their retirement than their younger counterparts. While the County did appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court refused to hear the case.

What is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is the act of treating an employee differently based on his or her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects employees 40 years of age and older. The law prevents employers from treating those employees differently because they are considered “too old.”

Common Types of Age Discrimination

There is no one type of age discrimination that occurs. It actually takes place in many forms involving decisions in promotion, compensation, hiring, and firing. Some examples of age discrimination are:

    • Denying an employee a higher wage
    • Treating an older employee less favorably than a younger worker
    • Denying older employees more favorable assignments
    • Changing an employee’s assignments because of the employer’s belief the older employee can no longer do the job because of age.
    • Making employment decisions based on stereotypes about older employees.
  • Disciplining an older employee too harshly when a younger co-worker did the same action and was not punished.

Harassment is Age Discrimination in Baltimore

Another form of age discrimination in Baltimore is harassment. Harassment can result in a hostile environment like calling an employee “grandma,” unwelcome jokes or age-biased comments.

When Age Discrimination Happens to You

Age discrimination can be subtle or blatant. There are a few factors to evaluate in determining if you might have a claim for age discrimination under the ADEA:

    • You are 40 years old or older. If so, you are in a protected class of employees under the ADEA.
    • You have been subjected to adverse employment actions, such as being fired, not being hired, being excluded from training, or being subjected to a hostile work environment.
    • You have the same job qualifications as other employees.
  • You have been discriminated against. You must be able to show you have suffered an injury such as emotional distress, lost wages, or lack of promotion.

Contact The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford about Your Baltimore Age Discrimination Case

You were discriminated against at your job. Maybe you did not receive the job because you were “too old,” in their opinion. You have the legal right to fight age discrimination. The Baltimore age discrimination attorneys at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford can help. You can contact us via our website or via telephone at 410-514-6099

(image courtesy of Bethany Legg)