Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) | Meaning and Definition

What is ADEA?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a US labor law that prohibits discrimination based on age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges. The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including State and local governments. Federal government agencies are subject to the ADEA and have age discrimination laws.

Discrimination based on age can take many forms. It may be direct, such as refusing to hire someone because they are over a certain age, or indirect, such as having hiring practices that disproportionately exclude older workers. Age discrimination can also occur when an employer treats an employee less favorably because of their age.

History of the ADEA

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is a federal law that protects employees and job applicants who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination based on age. The ADEA prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, promotions, and benefits. 

The ADEA is enforced by the  EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Age discrimination claims must be filed with the EEOC within certain days of the alleged discriminatory action. If the EEOC finds that discrimination has occurred, it may file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim or issue a notice of right to sue, which allows the victim to file a private lawsuit. 

Can you sue your employer for age discrimination?

To sue your employer for age discrimination under the ADEA, you must first file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC will then investigate your charge and determine whether there is enough evidence to support your claim. If so, the EEOC may file a lawsuit on your behalf.