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Are there laws against age discrimination at Detroit workplaces?

The United States of America is a country that provides equal opportunity for employment. Workplace discrimination is an issue with social, legal and economic repercussions. Michigan law has zero tolerance for workplace discrimination. Even so, a Detroit worker may experience discrimination based on age, gender, sexual orientation, race and other attributes.

Workplace discrimination is any form of degrading behavior meted out by authorities or employers toward a specific person or group of persons based on extraneous factors not related to work performance. One of the most common forms of workplace discrimination is attributed to linear age. One must not confuse age discrimination with "ageism," which is a general stereotyping and discrimination of an age group, not necessarily related to the workplace or job performance.

Michigan legislation addresses age discrimination directly in its employment act which prohibits any policy that may directly or indirectly ensure age discrimination. The Act covers all employees aged 40 and over. Employees under 40, however, do not benefit from any provisions in the Act. All acts of workplace discrimination related to employment, promotions, benefits and other perquisites are forbidden from being affected by the age of the employee, according to this legislation.

If an employee is harassed an employer or a company policy provides the vehicle of discrimination, the Act provides the employee legal recourse. Harassment relating to age discrimination may include jeering, rebuke, taunts or bullying. An isolated example is not enough for the court. Harassment is defined by a derogatory act which is frequently perpetuated against the victim with hostile and severe remarks in the workplace that adversely affects the employee's performance.

A legal professional may provide help in such cases of continued harassment. Age discrimination or harassment may be carried out by anyone from superiors, colleagues or even subordinates.

Source: EEOC.gov, "Age Discrimination," accessed on Sept. 19, 2014

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