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Georgia Age Discrimination In Employment Act

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.  The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) amended the ADEA to specifically prohibit employers from denying benefits to older employees.  While an older worker is also covered by several other workplace laws, these are the main federal laws which specifically protect older workers against discrimination based on age. Age discrimination may be accompanied by other forms of illegal discrimination as well, such as sex, race, or disability discrimination.

The ADEA applies to employers who regularly employ 20 or more employees, the following are included with some exceptions:

  • state and local governments
  • employment agencies
  • labor unions
  • federal government

Under the ADEA’s language, which Congress passed in 1967, the law specifically protected state government employees as well as federal, private sector and union employees.   This meant that, just like other workers, state employees could sue their employers — the states for which they worked — for age discrimination.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court in January of 2000 ruled that state employees were not allowed to use the ADEA’s provisions which allow employees who successfully sued their employers to recover money for back wages and other monetary losses. In the case of Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, (No. 98-791, decided January 11, 2000), the Court held that Congress did not have the authority to authorize certain kinds of age discrimination lawsuits against states.

Thus, if you are a state employee, the ADEA no longer protects you from age discrimination.  However, you may be protected by the laws of the very state that is discriminating against you.  If you are a state employee who has suffered age discrimination, you may need to discuss your individual situation with an attorney to figure out how best to proceed.

It does not apply to the following:

  • elected officials
  • independent contractors
  • executives or those in high policy making positions, they can be required to retire at age 65 if they would receive annual retirement pension benefits worth $44,000 or more.
  • there are special exceptions for fire and police personnel, tenured university faculty, and certain federal employees working in law enforcement and air traffic control.
  • there are also exceptions if age is an essential part of the particular job.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal governmental agency responsible for investigating these charges.

If you feel that you have been a victim of age discrimination, contact Atlanta’s age discrimination attorneys at Barrett and Farahany today (404) 214-0120!

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