Age Discrimination in Michigan Workplaces

The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 instituted protections for a number of Americans in designated protected classes of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. These protected classes mean that individuals cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their membership in one of these protected classes. 
Since that law’s passage, countless state and federal laws have been passed to strengthen protections for those in protected classes. Classes have even been added; one notable example is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, which prohibits most private employers (and almost all public employers) from discriminating against employees and candidates based on their age. Specifically, the ADEA protects workers 40 and older from workplace discrimination.
Michigan law goes further than this federal law. Companies with any employees are not permitted to discriminate against any job applicants or employees regardless of age. Specific actions might include: 

  • Not hiring or recruiting a candidate due to his or her age
  • Discharging an older worker based on the worker’s age
  • Not extending a raise or promotion to older workers in hopes they will quit
  • Withholding job assignments or benefits due to a worker’s age
  • Constantly making derogatory comments about an employee’s age so that it creates a hostile work environment
Can Prospective Employers Ask How Old You Are?

Technically, employers with whom you are interviewing as a job candidate are permitted to inquire about your age and/or date of birth. The interviewer or hiring manager must have a legitimate reason for asking, though. If you are to ever bring an age discrimination case against your current or former employer, this question could be used to bolster your case. 

Can Employers Discharge Older Employers to Get Someone Cheaper?

Employers are within the bounds of the law to discharge a high-earning employee in order to replace him or her with someone who will accept lower wages. This can look like age discrimination due to older workers’ commanding higher wages due to seniority and other factors. However, if you can prove that your employer used this as an excuse to simply get rid of older workers, you could have a legitimate case. 

Proving Age Discrimination

Unfortunately, it is rather easy for employees to miss instances of legitimate age discrimination in the workplace; similarly, employers can easily engage in this type of discrimination under-the-radar. Other times, the discrimination is clear to the employees experiencing the ageism. Proving this is an uphill battle, though. 
Fortunately, Attorney Carla D. Aikens does not shy away from a tough fight. Our firm is well-equipped to effectively handle any manner of claims related to employment law. From wrongful termination to wage & hour claims, we want to fight for you. Get in touch with our team to schedule a free initial consultation.

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