Even though the majority of employees are at-will employees, state and federal laws sometimes intervene to prevent termination for the wrong reasons. Age is one of the protected categories under federal law. If you are fired or harassed in some way based on your age, you may have a legal remedy. Here are the basics.

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The laws that influence age discrimination aren't only federal, which you would find in the age discrimination section in the Employment Act. Some states have their own additions to the federal law, providing even higher standards. Essentially, the laws against age discrimination state that you cannot be discriminated against based on your age. However, those protections only apply if you are 40 years or older and your employer has at least 20 employees or is a part of the government.

One of the most obvious forms of workplace age discrimination occurs when you are fired and your employer provides your age as the reason. However, age discrimination can develop in a number of other ways. For example, age-based harassment and hostile working environments are prohibited in The Employment Act. Biased comments relating to your age and distinct differences in treatment between older and younger employees may be signs of age discrimination. The occasional comment doesn’t necessarily constitute age discrimination, but repeated comments and treatments that establish a pattern of behavior can add up to age discrimination. Being passed over for a promotion based on your age is another potential area of age discrimination in the workplace.

If you think you have an age discrimination case, make sure that you gather as much information and objective facts as you can, and find a lawyer as soon as possible. Proving an age discrimination case is more challenging than it once was. According to Forbes, age discrimination claims have almost doubled in the past 10 years, but the number of positive settlements has not increased. This is primarily because most cases are not well documented, so gather all of the information you can. For more help

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Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.