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EEOC issues new rule on age discrimination

When many in South Florida think of workplace discrimination, they immediately think of employees being unfairly treated on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion or sex. However, employees are sometimes discriminated against in the workplace on other unfair grounds. One of these is age.

Workplace age discrimination is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Just this week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a rule to clarify the scope of this law for employers, employees and the courts.

The new rule is set to be published in the Federal Register today, and it specifies that the ADEA prohibits any practices or policies that have an effect of harming older people more than younger people--unless the practice or policy is supported by a reasonable factor that is not age.

The EEOC said in a statement: "The final rule strikes the appropriate balance between protecting older workers from unreasonable business decisions and preserving and employer's ability to make reasonable business decisions."

The rule aligns the ADEA with Supreme Court rulings, including a 2008 decision that stated employers have to prove there existed a reason other than age when layoffs seemed to target older employees.

While this new rule should help to clarify the ADEA for both employers and employees, the ADEA like many Florida state and federal employment laws statutes is quite complicated. It is often wise for employers and employees to work with employment law attorneys to ensure that employment law statutes are being interpreted accurately before taking any action on the basis of these laws.

Source: Business Insurance, "EEOC issues Age Discrimination in Employment Act rule," Judy Greenwald, March 29, 2012


Hello, I am a Professional Nanny, and I feel that I am being discriminated against, even though I wouldn't be able to prove it. I feel that I am overlooked in favor of the younger nanny. I could probably work circles around most of them. I am healthy, energetic and young looking for my age. It has really put a damper on my finances as well as my self esteem. What is a person to do? Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do if you are working for an employer who employs less than five to fifteen employees. This is because the laws applicable to discrimination, including age discrimination, do not apply to employers with only a few employees. If however, your employer does have more than at least 5 employees, you may be able to pursue a claim. You can fill out an online intake form at my website under the "Tell Us About Your Case" link.

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