Age

You have protections against discrimination.

Age discrimination occurs when a job applicant or employee is treated less favorably because of their age. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against individuals because they are age 40 or older. It is not illegal for employers to favor older workers based on age even when doing so adversely affects a younger worker who is 40 or older. Discrimination can occur even if the person who engaged in the discriminatory conduct is over 40. Employers must not allow managers, coworkers, or others in the workplace to harass employees because of their age.

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be unlawful if it negatively impacts older workers more than younger workers without a showing that the policy or practice is based on a reasonable factor other than age.

Though there is no federal law that protects individuals under age 40 from age discrimination, some states may have such laws.

You have the right to file a complaint or a Charge of Discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, engage in any protected equal employment opportunity (EEO) activity, or oppose discrimination without being retaliated against by your employer.

You generally have a right to protection from discrimination regardless of your immigration status, although, in some cases, immigration status may limit the remedies that you’ll be able to obtain.

Examples of discrimination

In general, this means that you cannot be:

  • fired,
  • rejected for a job or promotion,
  • given lesser assignments,
  • forced to take leave, or
  • otherwise disciplined

because of your age, if you’re 40 or older.

Additional resources

Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.