Employers do not have the right to force employees to retire, regardless of their age. With an aging population still active in the work force, forced retirement is becoming more of an issue than ever before. Employers want to bring new life into their organizations by hiring younger workers, while older employees want to keep working longer so that they can have enough money set aside to have a comfortable retirement.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects older workers from discrimination in the workplace. Under the ADEA, all workers over the age of 40 are protected from being discriminated against. For employees who work for private employers with more than 20 employees and those who work for federal or local governments, forced retirement is illegal.
In many cases, in lieu of forced retirement, an employer will try to push an older employee into a lesser position with lower pay in order to make room for new, younger employees. This is also protected under the ADEA. Older workers are entitled to stay in their current positions for as long as they wish to continue working and are still physically and mentally capable of doing so.
In addition to being unable to force older employees to retire from their positions, employers are also not permitted to limit these employees’ benefits. They are entitled to receive the same benefits they have throughout the rest of their careers. In addition, older employees must be eligible to be covered under the employer’s health insurance plan, even after they qualify for Medicare, which acts as secondary coverage.
The only employees who are not protected under this act are those who are serving in elected or appointed positions that have policy-making power in politics. Their service staff members are exempt from the rulings as well.
Recourse After Age Discrimination
For employees who fear that they may be the victims of age discrimination in the work place and are being forced to retire, wrongful termination attorneys can help. An attorney who is well-versed in employment law can help older employees to protect their jobs from employers who may be engaging in unlawful practices. Older workers should not have to worry about their job security at this late stage of their careers. Working with an attorney can help these employees to better understand the details of their protection under the ADEA and what it means for their careers going forward.