Employees and applicants in Minnesota and elsewhere in the nation should understand they have legal rights, no matter their ages. In some cases, an employee or applicant may believe that he or she is experiencing discrimination based upon age. In these matters, it is important to be aware of the laws that protect them against this type of discrimination in the workplace.

What are the common forms of age discrimination? The laws regarding age discrimination forbid any form of discrimination regarding any aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, salary amounts, promotions, job assignments, layoffs, job training, fringe benefits and other terms or conditions of employment.

According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or the ADEA, this Act only forbids age discrimination against employees or applicants who are age 40 or older. While this Act does not protect workers under the age of 40, some states do provide laws that protect employees and applicants who are younger than 40. For this reason, it is important to understand the state and federal laws that guard against employment discrimination.

If an employee or applicant was harassed, overlooked for promotions or suffered a wrongful termination based on his or her age, there are options. It is possible to file a claim based on age discrimination. This could result in compensation being awarded to the employee or applicant for the damages suffered as a result of the situation.

Whether you or a colleague is experiencing discrimination based on age or other personal characteristic, it is important to address the situation. This could mean speaking to a supervisor or human resources about the situation. If you are unsure of your options or rights, it might be advisable to seek legal guidance to ensure your rights are protected and the issue is timely addressed.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Age Discrimination,” accessed Feb. 23, 2015