Men and women who wish to work and use their valuable knowledge and skills to earn a living should be allowed to do so at any age. In Minnesota and throughout the rest of the nation, workers are protected from age discrimination by the tenants of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under the ADEA, certain employers are prohibited from discriminating against the workers they currently employ, but are also barred from using discriminatory practices in other employment actions.

For example, under the ADEA, an employer cannot generally bar applicants of certain ages from applying. Unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification that necessitates limiting applicants to a certain age pool, jobs must be open to workers of all ages. Limiting workers to certain ages is carefully scrutinized.

Additionally, employers may not withhold benefits from workers who are over the age of 40. Benefits may include, but are not limited to, access to employer-provided health insurance, retirement services, pensions and others. Workers must all have access to the same benefits’ options, regardless of age.

Age discrimination is a serious problem and can prevent individuals from getting and keeping the jobs they need to provide for themselves and their families. The ADEA is an important law that offers these and other protections to individuals who are over 40 and wish to remain active in the workforce. When members of this population face discriminatory practices in their hiring, retention and firing, they may wish to seek the counsel of employment lawyers, who advocate for the rights of older workers and their families.