Discrimination on the Job

questions & answers

Question: I have been employed at the same job for 9 years. Can my employer ask my age? Ask if I'm going to retire? Ask if I filed for Social Security? Ask how much I will be receiving every month then cut my hours from 40 per week to 24 per week? Tell me my job is guaranteed to the end of the year and then it depends if he will keep me. I have over 24 years experience and he was going to lay me off and keep the person in their 30's who has 5 years experience because they made $6,000 less than me. Can he do this since I'm a senior citizen?

Answer: Federal and Arizona state law prohibits age discrimination in the workplace. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people who are 40 or older and from discrimination in all employment aspects, including pay, job assignments and any other employment terms or conditions. (The Arizona Civil Rights Act, (state FEPA) which parallels federal law, provides that “it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual who is 40 years of age or older, if the employer has 15 or more employees” (A.R.S. Sec. 41-1461 et seq.). While an employer’s questions may not be unlawful by themselves, they may later contribute to evidence if a discriminatory action is otherwise viable In addition to protecting against wrongful termination, these age discrimination laws protect older employees “on-the-job”, for example against wrongfully imposing a less responsible job or a lower salary. To establish a claim of age discrimination under the ADEA, an employee must prove an adverse employment action because of the employee’s age and that your employer did not have a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason--proving age discrimination is not easy. If you think your employer has caused tangible harm to you on the-job or if you are fired or laid off improperly, because of your age, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Arizona Civil Rights Division (Phoenix) (FEPA) 1275 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007 http://www.ag.state.az.us/. The EEOC or FEPA will investigate your complaint and then file a lawsuit against your employer for you, give you permission to file a lawsuit against the employer, or dismiss your complaint. Some Arizona cities and towns, such as Phoenix and Tucson, have passed local ordinances prohibiting certain types of discrimination. You may want to check with your local equal employment opportunity office for further information.

QUESTIONS

  • I have been employed at the same job for 9 years. Can my employer ask my age? Ask if I'm going to retire? Ask if I filed for Social Security? Ask how much I will be receiving every month then cut my hours from 40 per week to 24 per week? Tell me my job is guaranteed to the end of the year and then it depends if he will keep me. I have over 24 years experience and he was going to lay me off and keep the person in their 30's who has 5 years experience because they made $6,000 less than me. Can he do this since I'm a senior citizen?

STORIES

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