The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) forbids discrimination of individuals aged forty (40) years and older. The ADEA prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
Further, the ADEA prohibits harassment of a person because of his or her age. Harassment typically includes offensive remarks or actions about a person’s age. The law does not prohibit simple teasing, isolated offhand comments or any isolated incidents that are not very serious. Harassment becomes illegal when it is pervasive in the work environment and creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when the employee is the subject of an adverse employment decision.
Employers should keep in mind that a practice that applies to everyone regardless of age, may nonetheless be illegal if it has a disparate impact upon employees or applicants who are age 40 and older and the practice is not based on a reasonable factor.