The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 originated from the Civil Rights Act which was converted into law in 1964. The Civil Rights Act, through Title VII, suggest that discrimination present in the workplace in terms of color, race, religion, gender and national roots should be prohibited. Discrimination against age was not yet included then. Later, in 1967, a study completed by the US Labor Department revealed that age discrimination was prevalent, to which Congress reacted by coming up with the ADEA of 1967. This act gave protection to employees with ages ranging from 40 to 65. Through the years, the law was constantly updated as necessary.
The major changes in the ADEA of 1967 are chronicled in this article.
In 1978, the ADEA’s enforcement was transferred by then President Jimmy Carter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It was also in the same year that Congress further extended the protection to include employees of up to age 70. Nine years later, the age ceiling was removed, to protect so that older people are protected against discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 revised all the primary civil rights law being implemented in the country, which included the ADEA of 1967. The act reversed some decisions made by the Supreme Court, thereby making it difficult for plaintiffs with age biases to win cases. In 1996 though, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor in the case of O’Connor v. Consolidated Coin Caterers Corp. in this case. The Supreme Court stated that the ADEA does not require the fired employee to prove that his replacement was aged below 40. Yet four years later, the Supreme Court gave the impression of going against those people who have been victims of discrimination of age all over again, as it stated that agencies of the state government were looked after by the Constitution from being charged for money-related damages.
In 2002, almost 20,000 age discrimination complaints were filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this was considered to be a record-high. Most of these complaints were a result of the economical slump and an aging workforce, composed of the Baby Boom generation which was reaching the age of retirement. The following year, the EEOC attained the biggest settlement for an age discrimination case in history. There was a back pay of $250 million worth to 1, 700 officers belonging to California’s public safety. For the last 40 years, changes were made to the ADEA of 1967 but not all were for the benefit of age discrimination victims. More changes are expected to come in time, as these changes will be made to fit the evolving society.