Current Issues in ADEA Law that May Affect Your Retirement
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against a
person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of
employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits,
job assignments, and training. As baby boomers begin to retire or decide to work
longer because of losses in the current economy, age discrimination has become a
more important subject in Elder Law.
Current Issues affecting the workforce under the ADEA
Waivers – Are waivers of older workers benefits fair. The 1990
amendment to the ADEA has strict guidelines for waivers of benefits for
older workers. This scrutiny is unlikely to change as employers in a
struggling economy reduce their workforces. It will be important to the
employee that the waiver meets statutory requirements.
Damages – in ADEA cases substantial employees can be awarded back pay,
front pay, and punitive damages. Age discrimination litigants appear to
receive empathy from the court and juries.
Healthcare Benefits - rulings by the federal court indicate that under the
ADEA employers must give their Medicare eligible workers the same health
care as their younger workers. As healthcare costs continue to escalate,
there is a concern that the burden on employers will force them to stop
giving comprehensive benefits to their entire workforce.
Disparate Impact claims – the ADEA allows an employer to terminate an
older employee if the entire workforce is being reduced and all workers are
being treated fairly. The question is whether a plan to reduce workers that
appears neutral on its face, has a more negative impact on older workers.
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces the ADEA. It becomes an important
aspect of elder law because of the aging of America. The complexities of the civil
rights law may require the assistance of counsel who specializes in employment
discrimination as well as an elder law practitioner.
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