There are several laws in place that govern age discrimination in the workplace. While you may understand the basic premises of these laws, that you cannot discriminate based on age, do you understand the laws well enough to know if you are doing it accidentally in the workplace? 

Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to age discrimination in the workplace. 

You should avoid age-specific questions in most cases

According to New York State’s Divison of Human Rights, you are not allowed to base certain decisions on someone’s age. This includes hiring, firing, or negotiating someone’s salary based on their age. This means that you are not allowed to have age-related questions on your employment applications, aside from asking if the candidate is over 18 years old. There are some exceptions if the question is necessary for licensing, for example. 

You cannot force older employers to retire 

Forcing an older employee to retire is a violation of discrimination laws. There are certain exceptions to this rule as well, however. These exceptions include: 

  • People who work in certain occupations 
  • Some specific executives 
  • People who have high positions and make policy decisions 

You cannot give people over 40 different benefit packages 

In order to comply with discrimination laws, you cannot give different benefits packages to people who are over the age of 40. This includes retirement benefits, as well as medical benefit packages. While insurance companies may consider people who are over 40 as more of a risk, you must offer them the same benefits as your other employees, regardless of age.