Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination based on age against employees who are at least 40 years old. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against an applicant or employee for asserting their rights under the ADEA.
The ADEA prohibits age discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, job assignments, shift assignments, discipline, and promotions. A separate law, the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA), protects employees over the age of 40 from discrimination in benefits.
The ADEA applies only to private employers with at least 20 employees, the federal government, interstate agencies, employment agencies, and labor unions. Although the ADEA also protects state government employees, these employees may not file lawsuits claiming age discrimination — they may assert their rights only through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC enforces the ADEA. To find the EEOC office nearest you, visit the EEOC website at www.eeoc.gov.