Today I become a member of a protected class.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, codified at 29 U.S.C. 621, is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on age. Specifically, it prohibits discrimination against “individuals who are at least 40 years of age.” As of today, this includes me.
The ADEA makes it unlawful, among other things, for an employer:
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age [and]
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age.
The ADEA also prohibits retaliation against any protected individual who “has opposed any practice made unlawful by this section, or because such individual, member or applicant for membership has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under this chapter.”
Not all employers are covered, however: the ADEA only covers “employers” which are defined as “a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has twenty or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.” [So, while I am a covered individual – in that I turn 40 today – I have no one to sue.]