As we age, we accumulate experience that can make us even more valuable at work. But that’s not how many employers see it. It’s not unusual for older workers to encounter age discrimination that makes it harder to get hired, promoted and treated fairly.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, employment discrimination based on age—in hiring, firing, promotions, layoffs, compensation, benefits, job assignments, training and more—is unlawful. It’s also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing age discrimination practices or for filing an age discrimination charge, testifying or participating in an ADEA case.

The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state, local and federal government, private employers and employment agencies.

If you think you’ve been discriminated against, write down a detailed account of the events, including date, time, place, comments and witnesses. If you are not a member of an airline workers union, inform the personnel manager of your complaint.

The best way to resolve issues on the job is to have an airline workers union. For airline employees who are members of an airline workers union, simply contact your shop steward. An airline workers union shop steward can help you write up a complaint and present it to management.

You also have a right to file a complaint on a form with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that works to protect you from discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion or disability. You can file a charge by calling 800-669-4000 for more information (800-669-6820 for the hearing impaired). All charges must include:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • Your job title.
  • A brief description of the problem.
  • When the incident(s) occurred.
  • The type of discrimination you encountered.

For more information, visit the EEOC question-and-answer page about discrimination.

Many states and cities also have fair employment practices agencies. In most states, a state or local agency investigates discrimination cases first and tries to work them out on the local level.

For more facts about age discrimination, how to fight it and what to do if you think you are a victim, check these sites:

Prepared by the AFL-CIO,

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