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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

This Act protects against discrimination of employees on the basis of age, specifically those who are 40 years of age or older. The statute applies to employers having at least 20 employees.

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991  amend portions of the ADEA  and should be consulted for further refinements. The ADEA contains the following pronouncements and findings by the United States Congress:

  • Older workers are disadvantaged when seeking reemployment.

  • Regardless of job performance, it is common for arbitrary age limits to be set in employment, thus placing older individuals at a disadvantage.

  • Older workers have a higher percentage of long-term unemployment which results in a significant loss of skills.

  • Employment discrimination  based on age has a detrimental effect on the economic well-being of the nation.

  • There are many benefits gained by the promotion of older workers in employment based on their abilities rather than age, making age discrimination in employment unlawful, and assisting in the resolution of problems related to age in employment.  

 It is unlawful for an employer under the ADEA and other Federal laws to:

  • Discharge any employee or otherwise discriminate in regards to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on the employee’s age. According to the EEOC Office of General Counsel FY2002 Annual Report, discharge is the most frequently alleged issue in age discrimination  suits.

  • Deny employment opportunities or change employment status based on age by classifying, segregating, or limiting employees.

  • Reduce pay compensation of employees to achieve compliance with age discriminationlaws.

  • Provide less employment benefits to older workers.

  • Maintain a voluntary early retirement incentive plan that promotes involuntary retirement of an employee based on their age.


The EEOC resolves on average per year 345 merit suits, recovering $52.8 million in back pay and damages for workers. Merit suits are charges with outcomes favorable to charging parties based on meritorious allegations. These include negotiated settlements, withdrawals with benefits, successful conciliations, and unsuccessful conciliations.

   - EEOC FY2002 Annual Report

The record retention requirements for the ADEA is to keep all employment records associated with job applications, job applicant resumes, and so forth. Under the ADEA, other records that must be maintained for a minimum of one year include those related to notices or advertisements published internally or externally for job openings, training programs, promotions, and overtime work opportunities. Any records transferred with employment agencies in regards to the recruitment of personnel as well as any records of physical examinations must also be kept.

Age Discrimination – Case 1

Plaintiffs do not automatically win age discrimination  lawsuits. A terminated vice-president of CSC Consulting, Inc. filed an age discrimination  suit against his former employer.

In Ransom v. CSC Consulting, Inc., the plaintiff at age 56, presented deposition testimony from the CEO that he wanted to retain the younger employees and to “refresh the office group.” The court found that this testimony did not directly indicate discrimination in the termination of Ransom, but rather were general statements about the corporation. In addition, the employer provided adequate proof that Ransom was fired for poor job performance, and as a result of declining business conditions.

Age Discrimination – Case 2

In Sheehan v. Daily Racing Form, Inc., an assistant editor at the age of 54 filed a wrongful termination lawsuit for age discrimination . The plaintiff alleged that he was terminated due to his age after the office functions were upgraded to computer-based systems. The claim was based on a company record that listed employee names, date of birth, and a summary of job performance. The case was successfully defended by the employer due to insufficient evidence of direct age discrimination, and the inability of the plaintiff to prove his qualification for the job requirements of the new computer-based systems.

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj

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