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Poll shows workplace discrimination based on age is an issue

While age discrimination is against the law, it still happens in Tennessee workplaces far too often. Instead of being respected for their years of knowledge and experience, older Americans may suddenly be considered out of touch with current practices, and thus are passed up for promotions or even fired. In other situations of age discrimination, an employer who wants to slash the budget may fire or refuse to hire an older employee, in preference for a younger employee who likely will not be paid as much as the older employee.

According to one poll, approximately 50 percent of respondents in America believed that age discrimination does take place. However, the poll found that 60 percent of respondents age 60 and up reported believing that older people were often or always discriminated against in the workplace. Only 43 percent of respondents under age 45 said the same. Specifically, one-tenth of respondents age 60 and up reported being held back at work due to age discrimination. One-fifth of respondents age 45 and up said the same.

Federal law prohibits age discrimination through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Age discrimination occurs when a worker or job applicant is treated less favorably due to his or her age. The Act applies to those age 40 and up. A person can be discriminated against in hiring, laying a worker off, being paid, what job assignments are handed out, benefits provided or any other term or condition of being employed. The Act also prohibits harassment of a worker due to his or her age.

Being the victim of workplace discrimination can be very difficult. Workers in such situations do have rights, however. Employment law attorneys can be a good resource of information to those who have been discriminated against at work and need more information on how to hold their employer responsible.

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