It’s a common concern amongst workers that if they don’t advance quickly enough, they will have missed their chance to move up in a company. It’s an unfortunate fact that many employees assume employers will not hire or advance older workers. This assumption is based on an all-too-common culture in many businesses of overlooking older workers despite their years of experience and knowledge in an industry. In some cases, employers want to hire younger workers because they believe they can pay them less than an older worker with more experience. Whatever the scenario is, these decisions may be a form of age discrimination.
Understanding how age is a protected category
Indiana provides state laws to bolster the federal regulations. The Indiana Age Discrimination Act is made to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s age, for any individual who is 40 years of age or older. There is no upper limit to the ages represented under these protections. The Act applies to employers who are not subject to the federally mandated Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which includes employers with 20 or more workers. Here are some of the areas where state laws can protect employees:
- A company cannot dismiss, fire, refuse to employ or rehire a person based on their age.
- Your employer may be able to restrict participation in a retirement or pension plan under certain conditions. There may be some exceptions to how a company can require compulsory requirement
- An employer cannot discharge a worker who has provided evidence to support an age discrimination violation complaint.
- The federal ADEA may not apply to elected officials, independent contractors or the military.
Early warning signs of discrimination
An employer can discriminate against a person at every employment stage, from the application process to the employment termination stages. Whether you’re working in a company culture where you’re treated differently because of your age or passed over for promotion, you may be affected by age discrimination. This unfair treatment can come from coworkers, supervisors and even HR. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against, you need to pursue your options for protecting your rights without retaliation.