Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are many different types of discrimination that frequently arise in the workplace. This occurs regularly, in spite of the fact that discrimination in the workplace is illegal. Discrimination appears on a variety of levels including race discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, disability discrimination, age discrimination and more. With regard to age discrimination, it is illegal for any employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of age.
If you believe you have experienced age discrimination in your workplace, you should seek representation from a Washington employment law attorney at our firm. Our knowledgeable attorneys will review your case to determine if you have a claim and if so, help you take the appropriate legal action. Our firm also represents employers should an age discrimination claim arise.
Examples of Age Discrimination
Federal and state employment law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee because of their age. Some examples of age discrimination include:
- Denial of a promotion
- Refusal of equal pay
- Refusal to hire
- Failure to invest in the career development of an older worker
One of the situations we have seen show up in the workplace is that since older employees are often paid more than younger employees, they are being laid off more often than their younger counterparts. Many times it is an attempt by the employer to save money. Other times the employer or company is seeking to form a more “youthful” appearance so opts to hire employees who better fit that demographic.
Age Discrimination under Washington Law
Washington statute clearly prevents employers or licensing agencies from discriminating against employees or prospective employees over the age of forty based on their age. Furthermore, state law prohibits any employer or licensing agency from printing or circulating any statement, advertisement, publication, or job application form that expresses any limitation, specification or discrimination regarding individuals forty years of age or older. Employees over the age of forty require an equal opportunity for employment, treatment, promotions, raises, benefits, etc. as younger employees do.
However, Washington law also expresses some exceptions to the law in favor of employers. For example, employers are allowed to ask for dates of birth on job applications and ask for proof of true age after an employee is hired for identification purposes. Additionally, a Washington employer reserves the right to terminate an employee who cannot physically perform his or her required duties. Employers may also establish reasonable minimum and/or maximum age limits with respect to job candidates for positions that require extraordinary physical effort, endurance, condition or training. These are considered to be “bona fide occupational qualifications” (BFOQ). In order to establish such age limitations due to a BFOQ, though, employers must first have special approval from the executive director of the Washington state human rights commission or the director of labor and industries through the division of industrial relations. The BFOQ exception is usually applied narrowly and on a case-by-case basis.
For an employer who is faced with an age discrimination or wrongful discharge claim, we advise you speak with an experienced attorney from our firm. Our attorneys will fully review and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and how to best address it legally and pursue a successful resolution. If you are an employee, you need to understand that discrimination against employees based on age is illegal. That is why it is important if you find yourself in this position that you get legal representation from our firm to stand up for your rights. Doing so not only protects you, but it plays a part in improving overall workplace conditions for all employees.
If you were discriminated against, fired or dismissed from your workplace based on your age, you need to contact a Washington employment discrimination attorney at HKM Employment Attorneys today to schedule a private consultation.