In California and across the nation, people choosing to work for the long-term is undoubtedly a positive. Still, in a culture where youth is celebrated, societal beliefs could impact the workplace and lead to a negative viewpoint of older people. This view might be limited to people who are approaching retirement age, but it can damage the employment prospects of people far younger. That can manifest into negative comments, unwarranted beliefs, adverse employment actions, unfair treatment and outright illegality. For those who believe they have been victims of age discrimination, it is important to pay attention to current trends and to understand the law so they can take steps to address wrongdoing if it happens.
One need only conduct a brief web search about workplace age discrimination and there will be a wealth of information about people who claim to have been subjected to it. This is not limited to physically demanding jobs where there could be an ingrained belief that older people are not as capable as younger ones. It extends to cerebral jobs and white collar forms of employment where the person’s adaptability and awareness of advancements are called into question. One prime example is a man, 63, who has filed a lawsuit against SpaceX.
In that case, the man says he left his previous job for the SpaceX job, but was dismissed because he had a medical condition and due to his age. He took the job in November 2017. His goal was to help SpaceX with its endeavors. For the first three years of his employment, he was happy in his job. However, in June 2020, he was informed that his salary was a problem and he could not get a raise that year. His work was rated poorly. In June 2021, a new boss took over and the man’s suggestions to help the company were ignored. He was terminated in late January. He asserts that the company’s claims that his work was the problem are inaccurate.
Recognizing age discrimination
Even a company like SpaceX that prides itself on technological advancement and results is not immune to accusations of mistreating workers based on preconceived beliefs about their age and aptitude. This is happening throughout the nation. There are fundamentals about age discrimination that should be known. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination is defined as employees or prospective employees being treated in a less favorable way due to their age.
Based on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it applies to people 40 and above. The age of the person who is committing the act of discrimination is irrelevant when lodging a claim. This protects people who are 40 and above from being discriminated against when they are hired, fired, promoted, disciplined, granted benefits and most other aspects of work. People cannot be harassed because of their age. Gentle joking is not covered under age discrimination, but if it reaches a level where the person’s work is harmed, then it could fall under this law. It must be frequent and severe.
Holding employers accountable
Age discrimination is not getting the attention that other areas of employment law are. Notably, that includes sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Still, people should not face problems at work or lose their jobs based solely on their age. If a person believes they were subjected to age discrimination, it is important to hold those who violated the law accountable. Having help from experienced people who know how to navigate employment law cases can be imperative to moving forward with a claim.