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Baltimore City Age Discrimination Defense Attorney

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When you run a business you are going to have employees of varying ages and experiences. While it may not be your intention to discriminate against an employee because of their age you may be surprised when you receive an official complaint from a governmental agency stating that you have been sued for age discrimination. If you own or are part of a company located here in Baltimore, you should be aware that there are laws governing the hiring, firing, and promotion of people of a certain age.

What is the ADEA?

Many employers may not be aware of all of the complex and intricate federal regulations that they are expected to abide by. However, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or (ADEA) is an important federal regulation that you should be aware of.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 is a federally enacted statute that was designed and seeks to address what the federal government has declared a longstanding problem of age discrimination in the workplace. The ADEA on its face is a simple statute that prohibits employment discrimination against people who are over the age of 40. However, the statute can be complex when it comes to how it is enforced and the procedures that an employee must take when filing a complaint, and what procedures the employer must follow in order to defend their employment actions against an ADEA claim.

The ADEA was enacted “to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; [and] to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.” The ADEA makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age.” The statute not only applies to hiring, discharge, and promotion but also prohibits discrimination in employee benefit plans such as health coverage and pensions. In addition to employers, the ADEA also applies to labor organizations and employment agencies.

However, the currently enacted ADEA is not the original version of the statute, since it was enacted in 1967 it has been amended many times. After it was enacted, the ADEA went through a series of amendments to strengthen and expand its coverage of older employees. Originally, the ADEA only covered employees between the ages of 40 and 65. Eventually, the upper age limit was extended to age 70 and then eliminated altogether. In 1978, enforcement authority of the ADEA was transferred from the Department of Labor to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is important for an employer to be aware that this statute and other federally and state enacted statutes may be amended from time to time and may change the requirements that an employer must meet.

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Are Job Advertisements subject to the ADEA?

As an employer, hiring quality employees is an essential function to your businesses success. However, the ideal employee is not always going to walk into your door, unless they know that your company is hiring. Even though you may have a picture in your mind of what the perfect employee is, you should be aware that you could potentially violate the ADEA if you post certain requirements in a job advertisement.

Before hiring a person for a position with your company or business you will likely post an advertisement. Because the advertisement you are posting is attempting to form an employment relationship with a person then it is subject to the requirements set forth in the ADEA.  Under the ADEA, an employer is prohibited from advertising age preferences unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position advertised. According to the EEOC’s regulations, advertisements that contain phrases such as are prohibited under the ADEA, unless an exception applies:

  • Age 25 to 35
  • College student
  • Young
  • Recent college graduate
  • Boy or girl

The EEOC has articulated that even such phrases that may favor some member of the class but discriminate against others is prohibited. Some of the examples that the EEOC has stated include statements such as:

  • Age 40 to 50
  • Age over 65
  • Retired person
  • Supplement your pension.

However, on the other hand, if an employer requests for a potential employees age or date or birth in an employment application in an employment advertisement is not automatically in violation of the ADEA. The EEOC has determined that an employer is not in violation of the ADEA for making these requests because there may be legitimate reasons for requesting the age or date of birth of an applicant. However, the EEOC will “closely to assure that the request is for a permissible purpose and not for purposes proscribed by the Act.”

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What Information Should I Collect if an Employee has Claimed they have been Discriminated Against?

No employer wants to be sued for violating any of the provisions of the ADEA or the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act, however, if you or your business has been sued one of the first things that you want to do is to begin collecting information pertaining to the particular employee and your business as a while.

You should begin by collecting and requesting a copy of the following information:

  • All information to/from EEOC regarding the charge investigation
  • The former employee’s complete personnel file
  • Employee handbook(s) and
  • Policies and procedures of the company

Any other documents that substantiate your claim that your decision was based on a bona fide occupational qualification for the alleged discriminatory decision/action.

These are just some of the documents that you should obtain. In the event that you have been sued for violating either the ADEA or the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act. Hiring an experienced age discrimination defense attorney will help maintain and keep track of all of the documents that you need to defend yourself and your company.

Get the Experience of an Age Discrimination Defense Lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland

If you have been fired from your job and feel that your employer has violated your rights by firing you then you should contact an experienced wrongful termination attorney. Contact Ken Gauvey today at 410-346-2377.

Gauvey Law

6700 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 200
Columbia, MD 21046