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Age discrimination protections can be waived

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When Floridians think of workplace discrimination, they often think of the more obvious forms. These include discrimination based on gender, race, and religion. It is important to know, however, that there are other types of discrimination that can be just as damaging to an individual, but may be more secretive and harder to spot. One of the most common amongst this type of discrimination is that which is based on age.

Age discrimination itself can take many forms. An employer who uses age against an individual throughout any part of the employment process has broken the law. This includes deciding whether to hire or not hire someone, terminate, or promote based on an individual’s age. However, protections against age discrimination don’t stop there. Employers are also prohibited from basing compensation, discipline, and work evaluations on an employee’s age. It is also illegal to force workers to take early retirement or use age as a determinative factor when down-sizing.

Though federal law protects workers from these types of age discrimination, it is worth noting that it is possible to waive those protections. If a contract is entered into and it specifically addresses claims made under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and provides an employee with 21 days in which to consider the agreement, then the protections can be legally waived, thus allowing age to play a factor in all employment decisions regarding that employee. Typically in these situation, an employee will waive his or her rights in exchange for a severance package.

Workplace discrimination should not be tolerated, but far too often it is. Those who suffer adverse employment decisions based on their age, race, religion, or gender should carefully consider their legal options. By filing a legal claim, they may be able to right a wrong and secure compensation for their damages.

Source: FindLaw, “Age Discrimination in Employment,” accessed on March 14, 2016

Tags: Workplace Discrimination