John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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What constitutes age discrimination under the ADEA?

It often takes a lot of hard work and dedication for Minneapolis residents to become successful in their careers. Many individuals may start at the bottom of the company, and proceed to work their way up the ladder by putting in blood, sweat and tears.

While advanced employees should be among the most valued employees in the company, this unfortunately is not always the case. Companies frequently take adverse action against older employees, including demoting or terminating their position. In these situations, older employees should understand their rights when it comes to a potential case of employment discrimination.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers are prohibited from age discrimination against those who are 40 years of age or older. The law prevents employers from treating these individuals less favorably because of the employee's age.

Accordingly, while a termination from employment certainly rises to the level of an adverse action, termination is not the only action that will support an age discrimination claim. For instance, a person who is passed over for a promotion, who is denied benefits, who receives lower pay than younger employees or who suffers other consequences in the terms of their employment may have a claim for discrimination.

The law also prevents harassment because of age. For example, if offensive remarks are made about a person's age, this could fall under harassment. These remarks or actions by others typically have to rise to a certain level before they are considered harassment, as the issue must be so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.

Oftentimes, the hostile work environment is caused by a supervisor, but a harasser can also be a co-worker or other individual who is not a direct supervisor. When employees find themselves the subject of harassment or age discrimination, they should understand their rights for holding the employer accountable.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Age discrimination," accessed on Feb. 20, 2016

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