Oftentimes, employers discriminate against older workers because they are mistakenly believed to be more likely to take medical leaves of absence, to be slower, forgetful, and unwilling to take direction from younger supervisors. Employers take adverse employment actions against their older workers based on these misconceptions and deny them employment opportunities when they are as qualified are more qualified than younger coworkers. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. It applies to employers of 20 or more people. The ADEA can be found at Section 621 of Title 29 of the United States Code.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act forbids age discrimination against individuals 40 years of age and older from age-based discrimination. Unlike the ADEA, however, California's age discrimination statutes are to be enforced “with the goal of not only protecting older workers as individuals, but also of protecting older workers as a group, since they face unique obstacles in the later phases of their careers.” California Government Code Section 12941.