Age Discrimination

Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age. Both state and federal laws protect employees against age discrimination. The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although Oregon law protects anyone age 18 or older from age discrimination. Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40. It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's age. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren't very serious, harassment is unlawful when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): A Legal Overview, by Congressional Research Service (2010).

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