In the state of Missouri, employers are not permitted to discriminate against employees who are over the age of 40 and under the age of 70 based on their age, according to the Missouri Department of Labor. This law also applies to job applicants. If you have experienced workplace discrimination based on your age, whether you were an employee or you were a potential hire, you need to contact an attorney with the law offices of HKM Employment Law.
What is Age Discrimination?
Workplace age discrimination comes in many shapes and forms, and is illegal under both federal and state laws. Common examples of workplace discrimination, which is a decision or behavior that is based on the employee’s age and not his or her qualifications, include the following:
- Refusing to hire;
- Refusing to give promotions or raises;
- Refusing to give equal pay;
- Refusing to help in career development.
According to Forbes, and through our own accounts, older workers who have been around long enough to accumulate raise after raise are being terminated to make room for younger, cheaper employees. A company may decide that hiring six inexperienced younger employees to do the jobs of four older employees will be more cost-effective. Another typical move by employers is to fire older workers simply because they believe that younger looking employees will result in more sales. This is particularly common in the service industry. Even though half of all respondents of an AARP survey said that they had experienced age discrimination, it is extremely hard to prove.
Also prohibited under Missouri law is advertising a job that discriminates against people between 40 and 70, by including age preference or age limits, though an employer is allowed to ask the age of a job applicant. The only exception to advertising age limits for a particular job is when there is evidence of a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), which means that the age category is reasonably necessary for that position’s regular duties. For example, most firefighters must have started before the age of 30.
Employers can legally terminate an older employee if he or she cannot perform his or her duties, just as they can legally fire a younger employee for the same reason. If the employee cannot lift a heavy box for example, and that is part of the employee’s regular job duties, that employee may be fired because he or she is not physically fit enough for that position. Employers have the right to hire whom they want and to terminate employees for any reason they want, so long as it is not a reason based on the employee’s protected trait, such as age, religion, or race.
Reach Out to a St Louis Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
Age-based workplace discrimination happens all the time. Proving that it happened to you can be an uphill battle if you do not have the necessary evidence to support your claim. Call HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today and we will help you determine whether or not you have a case worth pursuing.