Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act

Oct 14, 2021
By Peter Friedmann

According to an AARP analysis in 2017, individuals 55 and older had an unemployment rate of 3.4%. This shows us that more and more older workers are staying in the workforce for longer periods of time. While older workers bring experience and knowledge with them into the workplace, they also may “develop disabilities as they age, or existing disabilities may become more significant”, which may result in older workers facing potential hiring discrimination tied to their age. Additionally, employers might consider the retirement age of an employee when discussing promotions or continued employment.

As an “older worker,” which is defined by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) as over 40 years old, it is important to be aware of protections that exist for older workers in the state of Ohio.

The age discrimination lawyers at The Friedmann Firm are familiar with the protections that exist for older workers in Ohio. We are here to help you if you believe you might have been discriminated against due to your age.  To learn more about the existing protections for older workers in Ohio, read on.

Protection for Older Workers in Ohio – Basic Info

When we look at the protection for older workers in Ohio, it is important to note that protection exists at both the federal and state level. Federal and Ohio law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and any job applicants that are 40 years of age and older. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the state of Ohio’s laws clearly prohibit discrimination in relation to any part of employment including:

  • The application process.
  • Pay rate.
  • Layoffs or terminations.

With that in mind as we discuss the protection for older workers in Ohio, employers still retain the right to decide on who they want to hire. Being 40 years old or over does not mean that you are automatically guaranteed a position, promotion, or that you may not be fired.

An employer can choose not to hire based on lack of experience if a potential applicant is not suited to a position or other related reasons.

Protection for Older Workers in Ohio – What to Know About the Laws

Protection for older workers in Ohio is directly tied to the ADEA (mentioned above) and a specific Ohio statute. Let’s look at what the ADEA means for the protection of older workers first.

The ADEA is the law at the federal level that protects the rights of workers over the age of 40. What the ADEA essentially breaks down to is that under it, employers are not able to treat younger people (those under the age of 40) with favor or preference regarding hiring, firing, and other employment aspects.

Under the ADEA, it is also illegal for supervisors, managers, and other individuals in leadership to abuse or mistreats older workers.

The ADEA also serves as protection for older workers in Ohio in another way. Older workers who report age discrimination are protected under the ADEA from employer retaliation.

The Ohio Statute

The specific Ohio statute that prohibits age discrimination is very similar to the ADEA. One of the statutes that serve as protection for older workers in Ohio is O.R.C. 4112.14. This section has a few points to it, but one of the key takeaways is:

“No employer shall discriminate in any job opening against any applicant or discharge without just cause any employee aged forty or older who is physically able to perform the duties and otherwise meets the established requirements of the job and laws pertaining to the relationship between employer and employee.”

Like the protections provided by the federal level ADEA, this Ohio statute ensures that older workers who live in Ohio can file an age discrimination complaint or lawsuit without fear of retaliation from their employer or wrongful termination.

Connect With Age Discrimination Lawyers

For older workers that believe they are facing age discrimination, there are some specific details you will need to consider; including determining if your case will be handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC).  Working with experienced age discrimination lawyers can make a big difference.

When it comes to the protection for older workers in Ohio, consulting with the age discrimination lawyers at The Friedmann Firm should be the next step for you. We are here to represent victims facing workplace age discrimination. We offer free consultations, and you can easily make an appointment online. You can also contact us by calling at 614-610-9755 to speak to a member of our team directly.