The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 64-year-old Michigan man who says he was discriminated against because of his age when he applied for a job with an aerospace components supplier. The man met the qualifications for the job. During his interview, the plant superintendent asked his age and high school graduation year. The man was also asked to show his driver’s license. According to the lawsuit, the superintendent told the man twice that he looked good for his age.
The lawsuit says that the company rejected the man on the grounds that it did not believe he demonstrated long-term commitment. The superintendent did not reply to an email from the staffing agency that referred the man saying that he intended to work for at least 10 more years.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects workers who are at least 40 from workplace discrimination based on age. The EEOC is asking for several forms of relief in the lawsuit, including injunctive relief prohibiting the the employer from engaging in furtherage discrimination, along with liquidated damages and back pay.
Age is one of several protected characteristics, meaning a characteristic that an employer cannot use to discriminate against an employee. Other examples of protected characteristics include religion, race, disability, pregnancy and gender. Discrimination may present itself in different forms, including a failure to hire, failure to promote, unequal pay, a hostile work environment or termination. A person facing discrimination might want to discuss employee rights with an attorney, even if still employed.