UK Age Discrimination Law

Age Discrimination in Employment Act

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Pub. L. No. 90-202, 81 Stat. 602 (Dec. 15, 1967), codified as Chapter 14 of Title 29 of the United States Code, through (ADEA), prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older in the United States (see ). The law also sets standards for pensions and benefits provided by employers and requires that information about the needs of older workers be provided to the general public.

Definition

The ADEA includes a broad ban against age discrimination and also specifically prohibits:

  • Discrimination in hiring, promotions, wages, or firing/layoffs.
  • Statements or specifications in job notices or advertisements of age preference and limitations.
  • Denial of benefits to older employees. An employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing full benefits to younger workers.
  • Since 1978 it has prohibited mandatory retirement in most sectors, with phased elimination of mandatory retirement for tenured workers, such as college professors, in 1993.

Mandatory retirement based on age is permitted for only one reason:

  • Executives over age 65 in high policy-making positions who are entitled to a pension over a minimum yearly amount.

Creation and Amendments

Written in 1967, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Pub. L. No. 90-202, 81 Stat. 602 (Dec. 15, 1967), codified as Chapter 14 of Title 29 of the United States Code, through (ADEA), prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older in the United States (see ). It also applied to standards for pensions and benefits provided by employers and requires that information about the needs of older workers be provided to the general public.

The ADEA was later amended in 1986 and again in 1991 by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (Pub. L. 101-433) and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-166).

Definitions

The ADEA differs from the Civil Rights Act in that the ADEA applies to employers of 20 or more employees (see ) rather than 15 or more employees, thus providing less protection. Both acts do, however, only apply to employers in industries affecting interstate commerce. The 20 employees can include overseas employees Morelli v. Cedel (2nd Cir. 1998) 141 F3d 39, 45

The ADEA protects US citizens working for US employers operating abroad except where it would violate the laws of that country - ADEA 29 USC §§623(f)(1), per Mahoney v. RFE/RL, Inc (DC Cir. 1994) 47 F3d 447, 449

An age limit may be legally specified in the circumstance where age has been shown to be a "bona fide occupational qualifications reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business" (BFOQ) (see ). In practice, BFOQs for age are limited to the obvious (hiring a young actor to play a young character in a movie) or when public safety is at stake (for example, in the case of age limits for pilots and bus drivers).

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not forbid favoring the young over the old, but it does prohibit having a discriminatory preference for the young over the old (General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 540 U.S. 581 (2004) 124 S.Ct. 1236)

The case of 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Gomez-Perez v. Potter allowed federal workers who experience retaliation as a result of reporting age discrimination under the law to sue for damages.

Remedies

ADEA remedies include reinstatement and back pay for employee or damages if reinstatement is not feasible and/or employer's violation is intentional.

Defenses

Section 623 of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act discusses the defenses to ADEA claims as follows:

External links

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