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Age discrimination, the ADEA and the FCRA

Workers in Florida who are over the age of 40 may believe they have extra hurdles in the competitive job market due to their age, or that being closer to retirement prevents them from consideration as an applicant. Some may be quick to file litigation when they are unable to secure or maintain employment, or when they are passed over for a promotion or raise.

Federal laws do provide certain protection for workers aged 40 and older, and employers may benefit from understanding these to avoid the appearance of age discrimination. According to the AARP, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prevents an employer with 20 or more workers from enforcing policies and procedures that affect older employees negatively.

This law applies to all employment conditions, including pay grade changes, promotions or demotions and termination or forced retirement. The burden of proof is on the employee when it comes to a court case involving an age discrimination suit, though. The employer only has to demonstrate that there was a sound reason for the action taken.

The Florida Bar Journal explains that Florida has a state law that also prevents age-related bias against older workers. This law expands on the ADEA by protecting employees in Florida who are younger than 40 from unfair employment decisions based on their age. However, the courts have been inconsistent the way that they interpret various facets of this law, and decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have also made predicting the outcome of an employment discrimination dispute difficult.

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