Age Discrimination in Employment

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab

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What is Age Discrimination in Employment? 

The right of employees to be free from discrimination because of his or her age is protected under the law, including the following enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The law against age discrimination discrimination includes all aspects of employment. This includes hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Retaliation

  • It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on age or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under ADEA.

Harassment

  • It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.

  • Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's age. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren't very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

  • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

ADEA

What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)?

The The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.

  • It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination. It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older.
  • An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA).
  • Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40

State Law

Louisiana State Law and Age Employment Discrimination

Louisiana Law, LA Rev Stat 23:332 prohibits intentional employment discrimination. 

Retaliation claims for other types of discrimination complaints are not covered under the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law. Under La. Rev. Stat. § 23:967 General Whistleblower Protection Law an employee may not be discharged (or discriminated against) in retaliation for performing, in good faith, the following activities:

  1. Disclosing (or threatening to disclose) a workplace act or practice that violates state law;

  2. Providing information or testimony in a public investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any violation of the law;

  3. Refusing to participate in (or objecting to) an illegal employment act;

  4. To be protected under this statute, the employee must first inform the employer of the violation. An employee is not protected if he goes directly to a governmental agency without first advising the employer. Also, an employee must be certain that the illegal conduct actually happened; a reasonable, good faith belief will not protect an employee if no violation actually occurred. 

The general rule is that most employees may be fired at any time-for any reason or for no reason at all-under what is known as the at-will employment doctrine. However, there are exceptions to the general rule; the Louisiana whistleblower protection statute. Employees who engage in protected activities (usually filing a complaint or testifying) under laws in the following subject areas are protected from retaliation: health care employees, insurer employees, labor investigations & proceedings, and workers' compensation.

In addition to the above state protections, federal law provides workers with additional protections. Furthermore, a private contract or collective bargaining agreement may also protect employees from certain forms of retaliation.

How to File a Charge

To File a Charge

Laws like The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), require you to file a charge of discrimination with the require you to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) before you can file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer. An individual alleging a violation of ADEA must file a charge with the EEOC or LCHR before you can file a discrimination claim in federal court. You can also file your claim in state court based on state law without filing with the EEOC or LCHR first.

  1. To File a Claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

    • Within 180 days of the alleged unlawful compensation practice.

    • 20 or more employees who have worked for the employer for at least twenty calendar weeks (in this year or last) under age discrimination. (15 or more employees under the EEOC for disability, equal pay/equal compensation, national origin, race/color, religious, and sex-based employment discrimination) 

  2. To File with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR):

    • Within 180 days of the alleged unlawful compensation practice

    • 20 or more employees who have worked for the employer for at least twenty calendar weeks (in this year or last).

  3. To File in a State Court under Louisiana State Law:

    • You may file a claim under state law without having first gone to either the EEOC or LCHR.

    • Generally, to preserve your claim under state law based on your state discrimination claims, you must file within 1-year or 360 days of the date you believe you were discriminated against. 

    • If you file your discrimination claim with the EEOC or LCHR within 300 days of the discriminatory treatment, then you have an additional 6-month extension from the 1-year period to file your claim in Louisiana state court (meaning you have 18 total months).

    • A case filed in state court using federal law may be “removed” to federal court by the employer because it involves a federal statute such as Title VII, ADEA, ADA, GINA, and/or PDA because the employer is based in another state.

Last Review and Update: Sep 20, 2022
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