Unlike some other categories of discrimination, federal law does not completely prohibit age discrimination. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 forbids age discrimination when the victim is 40 years of age or older. In other words, younger employees who experience age discrimination are not necessarily protected at the federal level.
States and territories are free to institute stronger protections, however, and several have. The District of Columbia and Maryland have laws that specify age discrimination is illegal, no matter the worker’s or candidate’s age. Virginia does not have such a law, meaning only older workers and candidates are protected from age discrimination in that state.
Age Discrimination during a Hiring Process
When a hiring manager is interviewing you for a position, your age should not be a factor. The hiring manager should exclusively focus on your qualifications and ability to perform the job’s responsibilities. You are under no obligation to disclose your age at any point during the hiring process. Sadly, some hiring managers may directly ask inappropriate questions or use subtler tricks to determine your age.
What Qualifies As Age Discrimination?
You may be the victim of age discrimination if a hiring manager asks any of these questions:
- How old are you?
- What is your birthday?
- When did you graduate from college?
- When do you plan to retire?
- Do you think you will be able to keep up with our company’s use of modern technology?
Simply being asked these questions may not be enough to prove age discrimination, but they are a sign that a prospective employer may intend to discriminate when making their decision. You may get a sense of if your interviewer is wary about how young or old you are through their lines of questioning and general attitude.
Should you not get a job, feel free to ask for feedback, as the hiring manager’s response may in some cases be revealing. It is perfectly legal for a hiring manager to say they went with someone with “more experience,” but it is potentially discriminatory to say they went with someone “younger” or someone “older.” If you are unsure if you were subject to unlawful treatment during a hiring process, do not hesitate to get in touch with our Washington, D.C. age discrimination attorneys. We can assess your circumstances and determine whether you have a claim.
Examples of Age Discrimination in the Workplace
No one should be treated differently in the workplace because of how old or young they are. In some workplaces, ageism may be direct and obvious. In other situations, age discrimination will influence how certain employees are compensated, who receives advancement opportunities, and who is laid off.
Examples of age discrimination in the workplace include:
- Frequent comments or jokes about your age
- Layoffs that appear to primarily target younger or older employees
- Work environments where exclusively younger employees receive promotions and raises over older employees despite lacking performance
- Opportunities (particularly those involving educational or career advancement) exclusively offered to younger employees
- Assumptions or direct comments suggesting younger employees can work harder and longer because they do not have families
- Older or younger employees being left out of company meetings or events
Experienced Age Discrimination? Call our lawyers Today.
Legal remedies are available if you have suffered age discrimination, and our Washington, D.C. age discrimination lawyers are ready to fight for you every step of the way. Our team at Pitre & Associates, LLC can help you file a discrimination claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your territory’s equivalent enforcement agency.
If you are younger than 40 and live in the District of Columbia or Maryland, you will need to file with your territory’s agency, as younger age discrimination victims are not protected at the federal level. If you live in Virginia, you can only file a claim on these grounds if you are at least 40 years old. We realize this can be confusing and can walk you through each stage of the process.