Colorado workers are protected from age discrimination through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Most employers are not overt in their discrimination, so it might be hard to tell if you are a victim of age discrimination. Therefore, it is important to understand what the ADEA is and what it covers.
The ADEA is a federal law and applies to workers over age 40. You may assume that the ADEA protects you from being fired or not being hired because of your age, but there are many more protections available to you.
How the ADEA protects you
Under the ADEA, your employer cannot force your retirement or restrict your training opportunities because of your age.
You also cannot be denied a promotion, laid off, denied benefits or receive a negative performance review based on your age. Employers who are hiring cannot make age a requirement or preference for filling the position.
Not all employers must abide by the ADEA
The ADEA does not apply to every employer. Your employer must have at least 20 employees to be subject to the ADEA. Federal, state and local governments, independent contractors, elected officials and employment agencies are also not required to follow the ADEA.
If your employer is subject to the ADEA and you feel you are a victim of age discrimination, you can file an age discrimination claim. The process requires several steps and can be complicated, so it is usually best to work with an attorney experienced with advocating on behalf of employees.
Once your claim is filed, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing the claim through an adverse workplace action. Retaliation in these circumstances is a violation of the ADEA.
Prepare for your employer to defend themselves
Again, your employer is not likely to make it obvious that they are discriminating against you because of your age. They will likely offer various other reasons for the negative action taken against you.
It is important to weigh the pros and cons of filing an age discrimination claim. Proving age discrimination is a challenge. Talking over your situation with a professional before filing anything is probably best.