Discrimination is unequal treatment of persons, for a reason that has nothing to do with legal rights or ability. Discrimination comes in many shapes and sizes, and affect people of all different races and backgrounds. There can be discrimination based on gender, disability, religion, skin color, and a multitude of other ways. One of the types of discrimination that is sometimes glanced the one based on age. Ageism is based on the assumption that older citizens lose physical skills like strength, eyesight, and hearing, in addition to some mental sharpness. This would seem to be a negative factor for those employers who are looking to hire older people and that is why they tend to stay away. It is one that may not seem as bad as the other forms or happen as other types but it is still an important one to understand nonetheless.
When people usually think of discrimination, one based on age is usually not at the top of the list. In fact, according to The Legal and Regulatory Environment of Business, neither the Civil Rights Act nor the Equal Employment Opportunity Act forbids discrimination based on age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does however. The ADEA prohibits the discrimination against employees that are aged 40 and above. It also prohibits any employer from forcing one of these older employees into a mandatory, early retirement. According to the ADEA, there is one exception to the mandated retirement rule. “Bona fide” executives and high-level policy makers of private companies who are 65 and older and are entitled to annual retirement benefits of $44,000 are subject to mandatory retirement policies. This allows some type of payment to be made for those workers that are forced out of positions. There is also the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which was passed in 1990. The OWBPA amended the ADEA to allow for employee protection against denying benefits to older employees. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act work together to act as the federal law that prevents the discrimination of older employees in the hiring and firing process, but also in the workplace in general.
There two types of age discrimination that are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The first is disparate treatment. An example of this is when an employer makes a comment concerning an employee’s advanced age, and then later firing that employee. Even if the employer states that age was not factor in the termination, the ADEA allows courts to rule in favor of the employee simply because the comment of age was made. The other type of age discrimination is called disparate impact. This is when makes advancements to a younger group of employees over a group of older ones. An example of this would be an employer decides to give pay raises to only a select younger group of employees and not to the older ones of the same workplace. The ADEA also allows courts to rule in favor of the employees, unless there would be a more reasonable factor, other than age, for the unequal pay raise.
There are certain types of defenses for employers in these cases of age discrimination, disparate treatment, and disparate impact, although they do differ from the other types of discrimination cases that are covered by Title XII of the Civil Rights Act. It is an understood fact that people get older, and as they do, their physical abilities such as: sight, hearing, reflexes, strength can go. Even despite this, there is no legal reason to discriminate older people as an older class. It is also tough to use age as a bona fide occupational qualification. Bona fide occupational qualification, or BFOQ, is a law that allows employers to only hire certain qualities or characteristics that would be beneficial and useful to the particular job which would otherwise be considered to be discrimination. Courts have found it is an illegal practice to set a