Both federal law and many state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against older workers in the hiring process. Unfortunately, not all employers obey these laws.
Do you believe a potential employer discriminated against you due to your age during hiring? If so, you may be able to seek justice by filing a discrimination claim.
Know Your Rights
Several laws in the United States prohibit age discrimination in hiring, including:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): This federal law, which applies to employers with 20 or more employees, prohibits employment discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age or older.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Although this law doesn’t specifically mention age discrimination, Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Courts have interpreted this to include age discrimination.
- State and local laws: Many states and localities have their own laws prohibiting age discrimination in employment. These laws may provide additional protections beyond the federal ADEA.
Gather Evidence of Age Discrimination
Various forms of evidence may strengthen your age discrimination case. Examples of evidence you might gather include:
- Job descriptions, particularly if they use language suggesting older workers should not apply
- Notes you may have taken during a job interview
- Emails, chat logs, and other forms of correspondence
- Any documentation indicating the company has a history of age discrimination
- Witness statements
Be aware that you don’t need to gather evidence on your own. This is a task an age discrimination attorney may assist you with.
File a Complaint With the EEOC
Once you’ve gathered your evidence, you may file an age discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This involves the following steps:
- Contacting the EEOC: You can contact the EEOC by phone or online through the EEOC website to initiate the process of filing an age discrimination complaint. For specific EEOC contact information details for your state/region, click here.
- Completing the intake questionnaire: This questionnaire will ask you for information about your employment, the discrimination you have experienced, and the identity of the alleged discriminator.
- Meeting with an EEOC representative: Next, you will have the chance to meet with an EEOC representative. They will review your questionnaire and provide guidance on how to proceed with your complaint.
- Filing a charge of discrimination: The next step is to file a charge of discrimination. This is a formal document summarizing your complaint and providing details about the alleged discrimination. You can file this charge either online or in person at an EEOC office.
- Investigation and resolution: Once the EEOC receives your charge of discrimination, they will investigate the matter. The investigation may include interviews with you, the potential employer who discriminated against you, as well as any witnesses. The EEOC will then make a determination as to whether or not discrimination occurred.
- Attempting to resolve the complaint: If the EEOC finds that discrimination occurred, they will attempt to resolve the complaint through a process of conciliation. This process involves negotiating a resolution between you and your employer. If conciliation is unsuccessful, the EEOC may file a lawsuit on your behalf or issue a "right-to-sue" letter, which allows you to pursue your case in court.
Get Legal Help
The process of filing a complaint with the EEOC can be complex. So can the process of gathering evidence for your case.
These are just two reasons to strongly consider hiring an age discrimination lawyer. An age discrimination attorney may optimize your chances of winning a case. Contact one today to learn more. To get started, complete the Free Case Evaluation form on this page right now and we’ll connect you with a lawyer who can help you—at zero cost to you.
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