This blog has, from time to time, discussed workplace discrimination. California employees should understand that workplace discrimination is illegal if the discrimination is based upon certain factors. These factors include an employee’s race, religion, national origin, gender and age. However, people should be aware that age discrimination only applies in certain contexts.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal for employers to allow age discrimination. In an increasingly aging workforce, many people may wonder — what is age discrimination?

The EEOC says that the Age Discrimination Employment Act prevents employers from discriminating against an employee based on age if that employee is 40-years-old or older. This prevents employers from discriminating against older workers in the hiring or firing process. Additionally, a person’s over 40 status cannot be used against them when determining work assignments, pay or promotions. Under the ADEA, however, younger employees are not offered this protection. This means that employers are free to favor older employees over younger ones.

Additionally, employers cannot harass older employees based on their age. In order to qualify as age discrimination and harassment, the EEOC claims that the behavior must create a hostile work environment. This means that the employee has been the victim of severe harassment, not just an occasional comment or offensive remark.

This informational post cannot provide specific legal advice to those suffering from age discrimination in California. However, an attorney may be able to help people understand their legal rights following age discrimination and harassment. Victims of age discrimination might have the right to compensation for the illegal treatment.