Commercial pilots, FBI members and air traffic controllers face mandatory retirement ages. This was not true for the medical field. Physicians had the ability to retire when they chose to do so in California. Today, Late Career Practitioner Policies are being instituted by hospitals and medical staffs. While those policies do not impose mandatory retirement ages, they do institute processes used to detect if the physician is beginning to wane in physical, psychological and cognitive abilities. These policies are coming into question and may violate several anti-discriminatory acts and statutes.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prevent discrimination in hiring practices. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prevents employers from discriminating against an individual based on age in terms of pay and privileges of employment. Employees cannot be segregated by age either. The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents employers from examining a potential employee in order to find out if a disability is true when the exam leads to evidence that is not relevant to the job and its tasks.

Instead of basing the new policies in the medical fields on age, there are groups who are suggesting alternatives. Code of conduct and behavior policies are an example. Physician wellness committees can be formed as well as taking non-disciplinary remedial measures. Physicians can be evaluated, but the suggestion is to do so on a neutral basis.

Physicians who believe that they are being discriminated against because of their age can bring their case to court. Discrimination is not accepted for physicians. It is not accepted for any other individual in the workplace either. A good way to approach the situation is to seek advice from a lawyer who has experience dealing with these kinds of cases. A legal professional may be able to map out the best road to take.

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