As the American workforce ages, employment discrimination against older workers likely will become an increasingly important issue. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives more than 20,000 complaints of age-based discrimination each year. Presumably this reflects only a small portion of wrongful discrimination cases, many of which probably go unreported. With rare exceptions, a Nevada employer cannot discriminate against job applicants and employees on the basis of age.
Nevada and federal law prohibits most types of age-based employment discrimination
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq., protects workers over the age of 40. Under the ADEA, employers may not adopt policies that negatively affect applicants or employees age 40 or older unless the policy is based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA). In its rules the EEOC specifies that an employer is responsible for showing that its policies are objectively reasonable, designed to achieve a legitimate business purpose, and reasonably achieve that purpose. Whether a policy is based on a lawful RFOA is determined by considerations including how the factor relates to the employer’s business purpose, how accurately the employer has defined the factor, and how the employer handles employee assessments, especially if the assessments will focus on traits that are closely linked to age. 29 C.F.R. 1625.7 (2012).
Nevada law protects workers from age discrimination in the same way as other protected categories, such as race, religion, and sex. NRS 613.330 prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of age unless age is “a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation” of the employer’s business.
Can an employer ask about an applicant’s age?
Employers are not prohibited from collecting information that reveals age information about a job applicant or employee. An employer might be able to deduce an employee’s approximate age based on information like graduation dates, employment history, or other routine resume details. And the law does not prohibit an employer from asking for a date of birth. But an employer needs to have a business-related reason for asking for such information, and must not be asking for it solely to make an employment decision based upon it.
Workers should note that employers are allowed to ask applicants and employees to waive their state and federal age discrimination rights. Per the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, such waivers must meet a strict set of criteria. These include that the employee is compensated for the waiver.
Consult with an attorney about age-based discrimination
If an employer has unlawfully discriminated against you or a loved one on the basis of age, it’s important to speak to an attorney right away. Don’t let your legal rights slip away. The attorneys at GGRM are happy to help workers in Las Vegas evaluate their legal options. To speak to an attorney, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.