Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

When a Few Grays Lead to a Pink Slip

By Nerissa Sardi on April 13, 2009 5:16 PM

A number of recent articles and labor statistics have been reporting those over the age of 45 are spending longer periods of time unemployed than their younger counterparts. The New York Times yesterday published an article based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that those forty five and older spend 22 weeks on average looking for work compared to 16.2 weeks for younger workers. Once they return to work, wages are often lower despite their years of experience. The upside to these stats is the lower rate of unemployment for older workers -- 6.5% versus the overall average of 8.5%. And many companies have so far shown reluctance at having to let go of their more experienced workers when layoffs or downsizing are necessary.

Outdated skills and high compensation are often cited as the reason behind the length of time these workers are out of work. And the number of age discrimination complaints by older workers to the EEOC has been increasing. The Federal Government prohibits employment discrimination based on age as defined in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). Some of the provisions in the ADEA prohibit employers from:
- Discriminating based on age at any stage of the employment process; from application through to termination.
- Reducing health or life insurance for older employees
- Discriminating against older workers when reducing the size of the workforce
- Forcing employees to take early retirement
- Discriminating against those who take action under the ADEA

To find out more about the ADEA and other discriminatory actions prohibited by law, check out FindLaw's civil rights and employee rights sections. To learn more about who may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), read FindLaw's article on Filing a Charge of Employment Discrimination to find out how.  

FindLaw's lawyer directory also provides both national and local law firms with expertise in employment law and employee's rights. Some offer free consultations.


Protection from Other Types of Employee Discrimination

The Federal Government has many laws and regulations that prohibit employers from discrimination based on gender, race, religion, national orgin, sexual orientation, disabilities, and pregnancy. Most states also mandate additional regulations or benefits to help workers. Click here for FindLaw's summarized list of Federal Laws protecting workers.


Related Links:



You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options