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What is the threshold for age discrimination?

When you're replaced on the job, it stings. It can sting even more if the person who replaced you is younger than you are. But is it age discrimination? How can you tell for sure?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers 40 and over from age-based discrimination. It applies to employers with more than 20 employees, labor unions with more than 25 employees, state, local and federal governments, and employment agencies. It does not apply to elected officials, the military or independent contractors.

Under the ADEA, employers cannot include age in considerations for hiring, firing, promotions, or raises. They cannot set age guidelines in recruiting materials, training programs, or retirement. They also can't retaliate against you if you do file charges of age discrimination. Policies that have an overall negative impact on older workers are also included in these protections. If a company policy is questionable, the company needs to prove that it has been put in place for a reason other than age.

If you are over 40 and have been replaced by someone 10 or more years younger than you, you may have an age-discrimination case. If you have not been replaced but believe age discrimination is happening at your workplace, document remarks made by coworkers or managers, and keep any emails you believe support your case.

Before you can file a lawsuit, you will need to file a charge with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The EEOC will investigate the charge and attempt to get the company to resolve it. You can file an age discrimination lawsuit any time 60 days after filing your charge with the EEOC.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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