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What age protections do American workers have?

Residents in Texas who are 40, 50 or older and may be looking for a new job should be aware of the laws that protect them from age discrimination.

Compared to a few years ago in the wake of the great recession, the American economy is today strong and vibrant with a relatively low rate of unemployment. This can be great news for many residents in Texas yet that does not mean that people can always expect an easy path to getting a new job.

Whether a person has made a professional choice to seek new opportunities or has been laid off and forced to find a new job, many barriers may arise along the road to a better tomorrow. For people who are 40 or older, their age alone may give rise to one of these barriers.

Age discrimination laws in the U.S.

There are multiple laws that ban employers from discriminating against older workers. As explained by the United States Department of Labor, two of these laws are enforced by the Civil Rights Center.

One law is the Worker Investment Act of 1998 as provisions in section 188 of the act speak directly to age protections for people employed by or seeking employment at businesses that receive money from the WIA.

Another law is the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. This particular legislation governs programs and activities that receive federal funds.

A third law with a broader reach is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This law is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 .

Protections granted by the ADEA

First enacted in 1967, the ADEA has been amended over the years by the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act of 1990 as well as section 115 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

This law explicitly forbids a company from discriminating against either a current employee or a prospective employee because of their age if over the age of 39. Such discrimination may take many forms including the refusal to hire someone of an older age in favor of a younger person based on their ages alone.

Other situations where discrimination may come into play include when choices about promotions, wage or salary increases or other perks come into play. Similarly, employers should not first choose to lay off older workers when conducting a workforce reduction solely because they are 40, 50 or older.

Getting help in the face of age discrimination

When a worker or a job seeker in Texas believes that they have been the subject of discrimination because they are 40 or older, they should reach out to an attorney for a consultation. This will provide them with the ability to have the facts of their situation reviewed by an experienced professional to help them determine how they may proceed.