Age discrimination in employment occurs when an employer treats an employee or applicant unfavorably because of that person’s age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids discrimination against people aged 40 or older. It does not protect employees under the age of 40 and further, does not prevent an employer from treating an older employee more favorably than a younger employee. However, discrimination can occur when both employees are over 40, if the younger employee is treated more favorably than the older employee.
Age discrimination can also occur in the form of harassment in the workplace by a supervisor, co-worker, client or customer of the employer. Such conduct can include offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s age. Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not 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).
Federal and state law forbid age discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. The ADEA is the federal law applicable to age discrimination claims. The Idaho Human Rights Act provides the basis for state law claims of age discrimination in employment.
If you believe you have been a victim of age discrimination in employment, you should act promptly to pursue any claim as the time for filing such claims is limited. Claims for age discrimination under the ADEA and/or under the Idaho Human Rights Act must first be filed with the Idaho Human Rights Commission before such claims can be pursued in Court.