When do protections against age discrimination begin in New York?
Much of the baby-boom generation is approaching retirement age. In other words, a significant portion of the working population is growing “older.” At the same time, people are living longer and may look to add more years to their careers. Putting all of this together, an older workforce could be setting the stage for more instances of age discrimination.
Federal, state and local laws protect New York workers from being discriminated against on the basis of their age. As individuals explore this as a potential issue in terms of their own employment, it may be helpful to take a look at the law and determine when legal protections begin as it relates to an employee’s age.
According to the New York City Bar Association, federal age discrimination protections apply to workplaces with more than 20 employees and those who are over 40 years old. However, local and state laws offer even more expansive protections than the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Employers with five or more workers must abide by age-related protections in all employment decisions, including hiring, promotions, compensation adjustments and termination.
One notable exception to federal and local laws, however, is that age discrimination is acceptable if age is a “genuine” qualification for a job. This stipulation could create a bit of a gray area, but is certainly something for existing employees and applicants to be aware of.
The landscape of business is in a constant state of flux. As a result, employers might mistakenly assume that youth gives certain applicants and employees an automatic competitive edge in this regard. Fortunately, however, most employees are protected against this dangerous assumption. Just because an employee might be over the age of 40, it doesn’t mean that he or she is incapable of adapting to the changing demands of the workplace.
Source: New York City Bar Association, “What is Age Discrimination?” accessed July 22, 2014