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Age-based worker complaints can rock a company

Aug 4, 2021 | Employment litigation

A California company’s workers comprise an asset that both fundamentally drives growth yet can potentially derail business fortunes in an instant.

One established Southern California legal source addressing employment law matters prominently underscores that. It notes that business managers simply cannot avoid disputes that periodically arise with employees.

“From time to time,” it stresses, “complaints and disputes threaten to disrupt a business’s smooth operations.”

Complications often link directly to worker complaints – sometimes authored individually, sometimes advanced by multiple employees – tied to allegations of discrimination.

Any such action signals an immediate red flag and alert status for enterprise principals. As the above source duly notes, employment litigation “can take a toll on a business’s finances as well as its reputation.”

Spotlighting one increasingly voiced employees’ concern

The seminal Civil Rights Act of 1967 yielded Title VII and its staunchly protective provisions surrounding employees’ rights at the workplace. The landmark federal statutory law enumerated a number of “protected classifications,” including race, national origin, sex and religion.

Notably, reference to a worker’s age was absent in the legislation. Workplace discrimination grounded in unfairly disparate treatment against older employees was not specifically addressed under federal law.

It did not take long for Congress to remedy that omission.

Key addition to Title VII: the 1967 ADEA

Spelled out, the ADEA is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The law stands as vanguard legislation extending formidable safeguards to a select worker demographic facing unfair on-the-job treatment.

Following are some key features of the ADEA that are detailed in a national overview of the age-based labor law:

  • Applicable to workers 40 years of age or older
  • Germane to both current employees and prospective hires
  • Establishes a flat taboo against age-tied discrimination, including in the realms of “hiring, firing, promotion, layoffs, compensation, benefits, job assignments and training”
  • Extends strong legal protections to individuals who call out employers for age-linked discriminatory policies or conduct

Employees in California and spanning the country are quick to invoke the ADEA when alleging unfair on-the-job treatment. Statistics routinely bear out that many thousands of ADEA-based complaints are filed annually with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

An employer might reasonably have questions or concerns regarding the ADEA. A proven employment law firm can respond and promote a company’s best interest in any labor-tied dispute.