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What qualifies as age discrimination?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination in New York occurs when someone, either an applicant or employee, is treated differently than others because of their age. However, according to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it is only considered to be illegal when the individual in question is 40 years of age or older.

It is important to note that the ADEA does not protect people who are discriminated against because they are younger than 40 years old or are passed over for a job that is given to someone who is older than 40. Also of note is that fact that even if both parties are over the age of 40, the court may still rule that age discrimination has taken place.

The law specifically forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of age, for those of 40 and older, in relation to hiring, firing, pay, promotion and assignments. Additionally, harassment is considered unlawful if is frequent or severe enough to create a hostile work environment that results in the victim being fired or demoted. However, offhand comments and isolated incidents may not fall under the heading of harassment.

Discrimination in the workplace can not only include failing to hire, promote or give promotions to deserving individuals, it can also involve an environment that is oppressive. This can be the result of pervasive comments or attitudes, and those who are affected have the ability to have these issues addressed. If an employer refuses to appropriately handle these situations, an attorney with experience in employment law matters may be able to provide assistance to someone facing discrimination in the workplace.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Age Discrimination", September 19, 2014

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