Age discrimination: spotlighting a persistent workplace wrong

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2021 | Employment Law

The challenges posed by on-the-job discrimination targeting workers in Michigan and nationally are many and enduring.

That is just fact, a reality both unarguable and persistent. It is prominently underscored in one authoritative Michigan legal source addressing employment discrimination in its many guises. That overview duly stresses that, “The workplace is often one of the most fertile habitats for unfair treatment and violations of basic human rights.”

Indeed, select employees routinely experience mistreatment at work. Some are adversely singled out owing to a singular attribute like race or national origin. Others bear the brunt of reprisals and retaliation – e.g., isolated criticisms, demotions, unenviable work assignments and job termination – because of their gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or for other reasons.

Much of what is targeted falls within a broadly enumerated listing of “protected” categories long existing under federal law. Those employee-empowering classifications were established under Title VII of the seminal 1964 Civil Rights Act and materially added to by subsequent legislation in following years.

A key work protection: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

One key workplace classification that garners strong legal protection is age. Although that factor was not specifically referenced in Title VII, it became centrally spotlighted in the 1967 passage of the ADEA.

That legislation is both detailed and powerful. Here are a few notable points relevant to the country’s preeminent statutory law addressing workplace discrimination targeting older employees:

  • Applicable to workers over 40 who are experiencing discriminatory on-the-job behaviors
  • Relevant not only to the alleged details of a claim, but to an employer’s retaliatory conduct as well
  • Potential to secure broad-based relief, including back pay, reinstatement, future benefits and more

A new presidential administration, a new focus on the ADEA

Here’s a quick point to note concerning the country’s current executive leader: At 78, President Biden is the oldest president to ever be elected.

That point is not lost on legions of older American workers and advocates of workplace equality for the country’s senior labor demographic.

“Trust me,” says one interviewed 65-year-old individual. “Biden’s age has not gone unnoticed.”

Many commentators on the ADEA and its linked subject matter hope to see a renewed spotlighting on workplace treatment and protections for older workers. Their criticisms and calls for change note a central irony concerning the adversely disparate treatment that many long-experienced employees receive:

That is this: Many workers first experience employment discrimination only when they are at the top of their game in terms of experience and knowledge that readily their employers. Maltreatment thus makes little sense from a company profitability/production standpoint.

Moreover, the “aged” worker demographic is ever-growing. Reportedly, about 25% of the country’s work population is at least 55 years of age, with that cohort “expected to increase to a third of the workforce in the next decade.”

Workplace discrimination is a flat taboo in both public and private work environments across the country. Questions or concerns regarding worker treatment and on-the-job rights can be directed to a proven employment law legal team.