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Federal and state laws protect employees from age discrimination

As people are living longer and staying healthy and active into their senior years, many choose to continue working. Others simply need to for economic reasons. Many people who divorce later in life, particularly women, find it difficult to get back into the full-time workplace after many years raising a family.

However, sometimes employers don't give qualified employees the opportunities that they deserve simply because of their age. Like discrimination based on race, gender and other characteristics, age discrimination is illegal in the workplace, both under federal and Louisiana state law.

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act pertains to workers who are 40 and older and employers who have at least 20 workers. It not only prohibits refusing to hire people based solely on their age. The ADEA also prohibits failing to promote someone or harassing someone in the workplace based on his or her age.

Louisiana's Employment Discrimination Law details the actions prohibited by employers based solely on a person's age if he or she is over 40. For example, a Louisiana employer cannot indicate an age requirement for a job or refuse to hire someone based on age unless it's what's considered a bona fide occupational qualification.

Employers also can't do any of the following based solely on age:

-- Discharge a person

-- Limit employment opportunities, compensation or employment terms

-- Retaliate or discriminate against someone for filing a complaint for age discrimination

-- Harass an employee or create a hostile work environment

-- Reduce wages

It can sometimes to be a challenge to prove that you were discriminated against in the workplace based solely on your age, just as other types of discrimination can be difficult to prove. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take action to seek justice and compensation if you believe that you have been the victim of age discrimination.

However, time is of the essence. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires that you file a complaint with it within 180 days of the date when the violation occurred. A Louisiana attorney with experience in elder law can provide advice and guidance.

Source: FindLaw, "Age Discrimination," accessed March 09, 2016

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