Are Younger Employees Protected by Age Discrimination Laws?

By Gregory Thyberg on October 16, 2019


Female workerThere are many state and federal laws in place to protect employees’ rights. These laws are meant to ensure that employees have a safe work environment that is free of various forms of workplace discrimination. Some of these laws refer specifically to age discrimination in the workplace.

While many cases of age discrimination involve older employees, there are younger workers who believe they have faced negative action based on their age. The question is, are younger employees protected by age discrimination laws? Sacramento, CA, lawyer Gregory Thyberg helps clients understand age discrimination laws, and how they may apply to their unique situation.

Federal Age Discrimination Laws

The federal law that prohibits age discrimination in the workplace is the Age Discrimination in the Workplace Act, or the ADEA. The ADEA prevents age discrimination against employees who are 40 years or older. These laws prohibit age discrimination in all aspects of employment, including:

  • Hiring
  • Training
  • Job assignments
  • Promotions
  • Pay scale
  • Benefits
  • Layoffs or firing

Because the ADEA specifically dictates that age discrimination laws apply to workers who are 40 years or older, they do not apply to employees who are younger than that. Still, many assume that age discrimination can only apply to senior employees, and are surprised to learn that they are protected as early as 40 years old.

California State Age Discrimination Laws

Aside from federal laws pertaining to age discrimination, there are local state laws that forbid age discrimination. While some states provide protection to employees who are younger than 40, the state of California has laws that are in line with the federal ADEA laws.

The age discrimination law that applies in the state of California is the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA. FEHA dictates that it is unlawful to discriminate against any person over the age of 40 on the basis of their age. As with ADEA, FEHA prohibits age discrimination in all aspects of the employment field.

What to Do If You Believe You Are Facing Discrimination

Any employee who is over the age of 40 and believes that he or she is facing age discrimination at work should take these steps:

  • Begin keeping detailed records of discriminatory statements, practices, etc.
  • Save any emails or other forms of communication that have evidence of discrimination
  • Consider filing a complaint with Human Resources
  • Contact an employment law attorney as soon as possible

Even if employees are under the age of 40, it is important that they keep records of any suspected workplace discrimination and discuss their concerns with an employment law attorney, such as those at our Sacramento firm. Our lawyers can look into the details of your case to determine if there are grounds for a discrimination lawsuit. If age discrimination laws do not apply, there may be other discrimination laws that can offer the client protection.

Learn More

If you are the victim of workplace discrimination, you may be due financial compensation for the damages you have suffered. To discuss the details of your case and learn about the best course of legal action, contact Thyberg Law online at your earliest convenience or call (916) 204-9173 to schedule a personal consultation.

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