Older employees in the workplace frequently bring increased leadership qualities and experience to their job than younger employees. Unfortunately, many employers view older workers as a liability, believing that they experience more health problems, require more time off work, and are slower in learning new technologies or job techniques. Employers are not, however, allowed to make employment decisions on the basis of such improper prejudices. In the event that an employer makes a decision regarding hiring, terminating, or promotion based on one of the above concerns, it can be considered that they are engaging in age discrimination.
Age discrimination was deemed illegal across the United States in 1967, by way of a piece of federal legislation known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (or ADEA). The ADEA applies to any employer who has 20 or more employees working for him or her, and protects workers over the age of 40 from age discrimination. In particular, the ADEA states that age is not allowed to be taken into account for decisions regarding the following employment issues, among others:
- Firing or “wrongful termination”
- Compensation or benefits
- Privileges for employees
- Employment terms
- Promotions or demotions
In addition, in Oregon, if you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of your age, but you or your employer do not fit into the restrictions of the ADEA (you are not 40 years of age or older, or your employer has less than 20 employees), you may still have a cause of action. Oregon state law (codified in ORS Section 659A.030 et. seq.) is governed by the assumption that all individuals should be judged on the basis of their qualifications and abilities, not on arbitrary standards that deal with age. To that end, Oregon state law prohibits any employer, public or private, with one or more employee from discriminating against anyone over the age of 18 on the basis of age. Employers are allowed to take age into account when there is a question of a “bona fide occupational qualification” – such as being old enough to have the proper licenses needed to carry out transportation work, for example – but employers are not allowed to use random standards to discriminate on the basis of age.
The ADEA and Oregon state law also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who have complained about instances of age discrimination, either internally or through the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the state Civil Rights Division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. (which are tasked with investigating violations of the federal and state anti-discrimination laws, respectively). If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination, it is in your best interest to contact a Portland employment law attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to receive compensation for the hardship you have been made to endure.
Age Discrimination Lawyer in Portland, Oregon
HKM Employment Attorneys possesses considerable knowledge in the area of employment law, having represented businesses, government agencies, employers and employees in all manner of employment matters. We are dedicated to upholding the rights of the employee in the workplace, and that includes taking action on behalf of those who have been discriminated against due to their age. If you have been the target of age discrimination, an attorney at our firm is available to seek a fair and beneficial resolution to your case.
Contact a Portland age discrimination lawyer for experienced legal representation if you have been subjected to age discrimination in the workplace.