Companies should value older employees for their experience and knowledge. But unfortunately, there are cases where business owners or managers actively try to get rid of older employees. This practice violates Tennessee and federal laws regarding age discrimination in the workplace.
Have you recently been fired and believe age discrimination is to blame? You need advice from a no-nonsense attorney at the Employment and Consumer Law Group in Nashville. Our experienced workplace discrimination lawyers stand up for marginalized workers who have been mistreated through discrimination, harassment, wage theft, and other job violations. You can count on us to hold your employer accountable for subjecting you to unfair treatment in the workplace.
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Why Do Companies Fire Older Employees?
Companies might try to force out older employees for numerous reasons. The business might need to downsize, so managers selectively choose older employees whose experience and credentials merit higher compensation than younger workers. Getting rid of older employees cuts down on labor costs.
Other employers may view older workers as a drain, especially if they are not experienced with newer technologies or processes that younger employees and recent college graduates are familiar with. In these cases, employers may try to replace older workers with younger ones to keep up with the rapid pace of development.
What Is Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination refers to any adverse employment action taken against a worker who is at least 40 years old. Age discrimination is prohibited under both federal and state laws.
Can You Be Fired for Being Too Old?
It is considered a violation of state and federal law to terminate an employee based on their age, although mandatory retirement ages are in place in a few specific instances. Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), employers are not permitted to discriminate against individuals who are 40-years-old and up. Similarly, the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) prohibits businesses from discriminating against people who are 40 and above.
Is Mandatory Retirement Legal?
Although mandatory retirement is illegal in many industries, some professions can institute mandatory retirement policies when workers reach a certain age, such as law enforcement, firefighting, or commercial aviation. Companies may also have compulsory retirement for high-level executives who meet certain statutory requirements.
Examples of Age-Based Employment Discrimination
Age discrimination in the workplace can take on many different forms, and it’s not always obvious. Examples of age-based employment discrimination include:
- Consistently hiring younger applicants in favor of older applicants
- Cutting older workers’ hours
- Reducing job duties or authority, including removing direct reporting employees or assigning menial or unfavorable job duties
- Eliminating an older worker’s position and assigning their responsibilities to a younger employee
- Disproportionately laying off older workers as part of a workforce downsizing
- A sudden increase in reprimands or abrupt downward shift in performance review ratings
- Offering early retirement packages and terminating employees who decline the package
- Instituting mandatory retirement policies (except when permitted or required by law)
- Denying promotions, opportunities for training, or other career advancement opportunities to older workers
- Isolating older workers from the workplace, including excluding them from meetings or other workplace activities
- Engaging in harassment, including verbal belittling, asking about your retirement plans, or making other disparaging comments about your age
Get Help from a Reliable Nashville Employment Lawyer
Not sure if you’ve been subject to discrimination in the workplace? Let the Employment and Consumer Law Group find the answer for you. Call or contact us today for a free, confidential case evaluation.