Age discrimination in the workplace is a serious concern, and it’s ultimately essential for employees to be aware of their rights. That way, should they experience unlawful mistreatment based on their age, they’ll be more empowered to respond appropriately.
Employment rights for older workers are most broadly rooted in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). ADEA is a federal law that provides protection against age discrimination for workers aged 40 and over. Under the ADEA, employers with 20 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against older employees in any aspect of employment, including hiring, termination, advancement and compensation.
Michigan law expands federal protections
When state law expands upon rights codified in federal statutes, state law becomes the primary legal authority for any affected individual’s case filed within state courts. When Michigan legislators passed the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), they expanded federal protections articulated in the ADEA.
As a result of this expansion, unlike federal law, Michigan residents benefit from protection against age discrimination in employment regardless of their age. Meaning that not only is it unlawful in Michigan to discriminate against workers over the age of 39 as a result of their age, it is also unlawful to discriminate against younger workers specifically due to their age as well.
Because both federal and state law empower workers to stand up in the face of age-related mistreatment in hiring, termination and broader employment, it’s wise for those affected by this kind of mistreatment to seek legal guidance. Depending on the nature of their circumstances, their situation may be actionable and may render them eligible for remedies ranging from compensation to reinstatement.