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The ADEA protects older workers from employment discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against a worker for reasons of age. It protects all workers over 40 from employment discrimination due to age. Such illegal discrimination is prohibited with respect to hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation and any other term, condition or privilege of employment. In California, the ADEA exists alongside state laws that also provide protection from age discrimination to workers.

The federal law applies to companies that have 20 or more employees. In a case in another state, a man is suing Amtrak for eliminating his position and hiring younger employees to do similar work. The man was promoted to a management position in 2006. In 2013, the company had a round of layoffs, and the plaintiff’s job was eliminated. At age 58, he was able to use his union seniority to stay on in a non-management position, but has applied unsuccessfully for several management jobs since then.  

He alleges that younger employees were all favored for the management jobs he applied for since 2013. The lawsuit is filed in a federal district court located in Louisiana. He is seeking a restoration a management position, and payment of the substantial compensation and benefits that he lost when demoted. He also seeks for distress, anxiety, punitive damages and legal fees.

It is not uncommon in California or elsewhere to see a company eliminate an older worker’s position whom it wants to drum out of the company. The company can then hire younger workers to do the same work for much less in compensation and benefits, saving the company substantial amounts of money. In that situation, one tipoff of illegal employment discrimination is where it can be proved that the younger workers are performing the same tasks as those contained within the eliminated job category. In that event, it is reasonable to believe that the company’s elimination of the older worker’s job was a subterfuge for getting rid of that person and saving considerable sums in the process.

Source:, “Employee says Amtrak guilty of age discrimination“, Molly English-Bowers, Nov. 20, 2015