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Frequently Asked Questions About Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is one of the less-often talked-about types of discrimination in employment. As a result, it is not necessarily well understood. However, it is very real and can lead to serious problems for older workers and potential hires. If you suspect that you have been discriminated against because of your age, it is important that you are able to separate truth from fiction on the issue. Here are the most frequently asked questions about age discrimination.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, it’s time to take action. Reach out the law firm of Hitchcock & Potts for assistance.

The Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA)

Age discrimination is prohibited in South Carolina (and federally) by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. It applies to all stages of the hiring process, including hiring, promotions, terminations, and everything in between.  It also applies to employers who have at least 20 employees, though South Carolina’s equivalent law requires employers with 15 or more workers.

However, the ADEA only applies to those over 40 years of age—those who are younger are thought not to need this protection, for better or worse, so the ADEA focuses on safeguarding the rights of older workers.

The ADEA allows employers to ask someone’s age during the hiring process, but it is not permissible to make hiring or firing decisions based on that information. Some policies may be facially neutral, but wind up having a ‘disparate impact’ on elder workers. This still counts as discrimination, so any use of age-based information must be used cautiously lest an employer opens themselves up to accusations of bias. 

Have You Been Discriminated Against?

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, the first thing to do is to try and work out a settlement with your employer’s internal processes. It can save time and trouble if you have the rare employer that may be willing to admit fault or be willing to work with you.

However, if this does not work out, the next step will be filing a charge with either the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You have a certain period of time in which to do so—at least 180 days, though state law generally allows more.

Once you have filed a charge, one of two things will happen. Either the body will take your case up in court, or you will be given what is called a right-to-sue letter. A refusal to bring your case under the aegis of SCHAC or the EEOC does not mean that your case is somehow bad or unwinnable. With the right-to-sue letter, you can bring your issue to court and have a good chance at winning, depending on the specific facts of your situation.

Call A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Attorney

We hope that we’ve answered all of your frequently asked questions about age discrimination. Older workers can and do provide the backbone of a workplace, and they deserve every chance to succeed even into advanced age. If you suspect your age has been used against you during the employment process, reach out to attorney A. Christopher Potts. He has handled these cases for years, and is happy to help with yours. Contact the firm of Hitchcock & Potts today.

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