At first glance, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) appears rather straightforward: It protects people age 40 and older from employment discrimination based on their age. But the law isn’t that simple. It can affect just about anything managers do, from asking questions in job interviews to assigning job duties.
Here’s a description of the law and some key problem areas to watch for.
How the ADEA works
The ADEA was created in 1967 to promote employment of older people on the basis of their ability, rather than their age. The law applies to employers with 20 or more employees, plus federal, state and local governments. (Some states have their own age discrimination laws that push the employee threshold much lower.)
Essentially, the ADEA makes it illegal to discriminate against people age 40 and older, applicants and employees alike. That applies to all employment practices, including hiring,