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Employee discrimination based on age

As New Jersey residents may know, it is illegal in the United States to discriminate against an individual based on age. Although this law prevents discriminatory acts involving anyone age 40 or older, some states have enacted laws to prevent age discrimination for individuals younger than 40.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, an individual may not be fired, prevented from working or refused a promotion on the sole basis of their age. In addition, the employee's health benefits may not be reduced. The act also protects an individual from being harassed in the workplace due to his or her age.

If an employee believes that they have been discriminated against due to their age, the employee may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC contacts the employer within 10 days and begins a formal investigation of the incident where it will then decide if the case has merit. An employee has approximately 180 days to file a complaint to the EEOC after the discrimination occurred.

In the event the EEOC has found cause for discrimination and efforts to resolve the matter have not been properly met, then a lawsuit may be warranted. An individual who has suffered discrimination in the workplace due to age, gender, race or sexual orientation may find it beneficial to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney during this time. The attorney may evaluate evidence of the situation, including job performance evaluations and other criteria, to determine if the employee's rights were violated.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Age Discrimination," Accessed on Jan. 16, 2015

Source: FindLaw, "What to Expect: An EEOC Cause of Action Chronology," Accessed on Jan. 16, 2015

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