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Age-bias issues don’t stop at the border

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Even employees working outside the country are covered under age-bias laws. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to U.S. citizens working in foreign countries for U.S. corporations or their subsidiaries. On the flip side, the ADEA also protects foreign nationals who work within the U.S. border.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pushing to extend ADEA protections to foreigners who submit applications in a foreign country for jobs in the United States. So far, U.S. courts have been reluctant to go that far.

Recent example: A Mexican woman wanted to apply for a job in North Carolina, but an office in Mexico refused to give her an application, saying the employer wouldn't hire her because she was over 40.

When she sued under the ADEA, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her. It said that if the simple submission of a rÈsumÈ from abroad conferred the right to file an ADEA suit, the consequences could be "staggering" for American companies and expand ADEA coverage to millions of foreigners. (Reyes-Gaona v. North Carolina Growers Assoc., No. 00-1963, 4th Cir., 2001)

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