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Dealing with age discrimination in the workplace

If someone over the age of 40 is looking for work in Missouri, they may be being passed up for a less qualified but younger applicant. While there are numerous protections for people who face workplace discrimination related to gender, ethnicity and religion, the laws related to age discrimination are relatively weak. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, makes discrimination against those who are 40 and older illegal, but it does not allow for "mixed motive cases" or compensatory and punitive damages.

Mixed motive cases, where discrimination is part of the reason for failing to hire someone, are a reason to contest an employment decision under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Many antidiscrimination experts believe that for the ADEA to do its job, it needs to be beefed up and on par with the Civil Rights Act. Until that is done, there is little to deter businesses from continuing to discriminate against older workers. 

In spite of the difficulty in determining which companies are engaging in age discrimination, some believe that increasing the strength of the ADEA would increase employer awareness of the issue. They think that the change in the law would increase training of hiring staff and bring the issue to the forefront of people's minds.

When people in Ohio believe that they have been discriminated against by potential or current employers, they may want to speak with attorneys who may help them understand the law and how it applies to them. Attorneys may also recommend courses of action and guide plaintiffs through the most complex aspects of their cases.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Is your workplace ageist?," Rex Huppke, March 25, 2013

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