Federal statute prohibits discrimination because of age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA ) of 1967 with amendments is the law in this area. This law prohibits covered entities from retaliating against an employee for pursuing their rights under this litigation or simply because they are a member of the protected class. Wrongful termination is a form of retaliation. These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (EEOC)
What Employers and Employees are covered?
The ADEA applies to employers with twenty or more employers, local, state and federal governments, employment agencies and labor organizations. The act applies to employees 40 and over. During the Regan Administration, the ADEA was amended to remove the age cap of 70 relating to the maximum age of employed worker protected by the ADEA.
What to do if You are Terminated?
If you are terminated or are about to be terminated because of your age, you should:
- Not take any negative or destructive acts against your employer
- Familiarize yourself with the terms of your employment contract if you have one
- Inquire about the reasons for your discharge and get them in writing if possible
- Return any company property and follow all post employment procedures
- Review your personnel file
- Request and negotiate a severance package if appropriate, and get it in writing
- Find out if possible who made the decision to hire you
- Consult a lawyer specializing in employment law
Do You Need a Lawyer?
There are strict timelines to follow in pursuing a claim for age discrimination, which would include wrongful termination because of your age. You should contact the EEOC immediately when you feel your rights may have been violated. You may also have additional protections under state law. Additionally, if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated consult a lawyer who specializes in employment law. They can advise you on the strength or weakness of your case, give you information about what you need to prove your case.
Termination of employment as retaliation because of your age is discrimination and illegal under federal and state law. The EEOC enforces the various laws relating to employment and discrimination. There are strict timelines involved in pursing your rights under these laws. Consult competent legal counsel to assist you.