Arizona Age Discrimination Law
Age discrimination claims primarily arise from the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which forbids discrimination based on age against people who are age 40 or older. Significantly, the ADEA does not protect workers younger than 40 and Arizona has not enacted a statute, as have some other states, protecting younger workers from age discrimination.
One issue that frequently arises is discrimination involving a worker over 40 and the person inflicting the discrimination (or receiving the benefit) also being over 40. In such circumstances, age discrimination can still be found. It is not against the law, however, for an employer to discriminate against a younger worker in favor of an older worker, even if they are both over 40 years of age.
What Actions Constitute Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination can take many forms. The ADEA prohibits discrimination in connection with any aspect of employment, including hiring and firing decisions, pay, work assignments, promotions, and any benefits or other terms or conditions of employment. In sum, it is illegal to treat an employee differently in any way (except to actually favor them) based on age.
But age discrimination claims are not limited to tangible things like pay, promotions, and benefits. It is also unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age. Many victims of age discrimination, for example, find themselves the subject or target of offensive remarks about their age. Although a claim will usually not arise based on a singe, isolated comment or innocent teasing, if the behavior becomes pervasive and creates a hostile work environment, an age discrimination claim can be made.
In some cases, where the harassment is sufficiently severe, an employee may be able to establish a claim for constructive discharge under Arizona and wrongful termination arising from the age discrimination. Because the relevant statutes require that employees take certain steps to preserve their claims, victims of age discrimination should discuss their situation with an attorney as soon as possible.
Another area where age discrimination claims sometimes arise is in employment practices and policies that apply to all employees, but which by their very nature have a negative impact of older employees.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you believe you have been the subject of illegal age discrimination, you should talk to an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible. There are strict deadlines for filing most claims, and an attorney can help you determine whether the facts and circumstances of your case merit further action.
If you're ready to schedule an appointment with an Arizona employment attorney, give us a call at 602-256-6400, or submit your inquiry online and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.