The job market is a difficult place right now for any person looking for a new job. Whether you are looking for your first, ideal or potentially last job, you likely expect that if you are qualified for a job or new position at your company, you will have a fair shot.
Employers cannot make their decisions based on a candidate's characteristics like age. Employees must be treated fairly based on their qualifications and not their age. There are laws that afford protection to employees who believe that age was the motivating factor that caused them not to receive a job offer.
For example, let's consider a management job position at a tech company. A 30-year-old candidate applies and a 50-year-old candidate applies. Their experience is roughly the same and both are qualified for the position. However, if an employer decides to hire the younger candidate simply because they want to keep their workforce young or they consider older managers less appealing than a younger one, the older applicant could file a legal claim citing age discrimination.
However, it is important to understand that not all ages are protected by federal employment laws. Generally speaking, a person who is younger than 40 would not be covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Further, it should be noted that there are many factors that go into hiring and firing employees. Just because a person is 40 or older does not mean an unfavorable decision was the result of age discrimination.
Because of how complicated and sensitive this issue can be, it can be crucial for employers and employees to consult an attorney regarding decision-making when age may be a factor. Resolving issues and protecting your rights as an employer or employee can be critical in protecting yourself regarding age discrimination.