Age discrimination is the unjust treatment of someone due to their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law that ensures workers and potential workers age 40 and over are not faced with discrimination in the workplace due to their age.

With the ADEA law, employers cannot list a certain age preferred in a job advertisement. Generally speaking, it is also questionable to ask a person’s graduation date or birthdate on a job interview or application.

The ADEA law protects an individual from requiring to retire at a certain age as well (though there are a few occupational exceptions to this). The ADEA law is not applicable to military personnel, independent contractors or elected officials.

Here are a few ways that age discrimination may play out in the workplace:

Comments about age

“Aren’t people your age suppose to be golfing or on the beach?”

“You’re going to need a wheelchair if you stay here any longer!”

“Do you need a walker to get up those stairs?”

These are all types of comments that are not acceptable in the workplace and could constitute age discrimination.

The firing of older workers

If, across the board, older worker are consistently being fired at a company and then replaced with younger ones, this could be a red flag for age discrimination.

No longer getting raises

For 20 years, an employee has done impressive work for a company, and consistently gets a raise each year. However, that raise suddenly and abruptly comes to a screeching halt. Perhaps the company is, in fact, running low on funds, or perhaps it is a matter of age discrimination that needs to be looked into.