Ohio Age Discrimination Attorney Best Answer: Can an employer require an applicant to be under a certain age to obtain an offer of employment? I’m looking for a job and I saw a few jobs descriptions that say I cannot be over the age of sixty when I apply, is that legal? What should I do if I’m being forced to retire at 60 years old?
As our employment discrimination attorneys have previously discussed, under Ohio law (R.C. § 4112.02(N), R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14), it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant on the basis of their age. (See I Was Fired Because I’m Turning 60. I Need A Lawyer!; Age Discrimination: Deciding The Appropriate Section of the Ohio Civil Rights Act To Base Your Claim; How Do I Sue My Employer For Age Discrimination At Work? I Need A Lawyer!; Age Discrimination: Clarifying A Misconception About Damages; and Age Discrimination: A Good Verdict.). Also, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) provides that employers cannot “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age.” If the ADEA prohibits an employer from discriminating on the basis of age, then why are there jobs out there that bar individuals of a certain age from employment?
Law enforcement and fire fighters often have maximum age limits for individuals who wish to apply for entry level positions or have mandatory retirement ages. For example, the city of Lakewood, Ohio has a maximum age limit of forty years old for entry level firefighters. Any individual over the age of forty would be unable to obtain an “original appointment” (government talk for entry level position). Courts have traditionally upheld age limits set by municipalities for law enforcement officers because of the physically arduous training and job duties required for police officer. These positions have found that after a certain age, individuals may not be medically able to do some of the essential duties of the position and could even pose a risk to members of the community if unable to fulfill their job duties. The bona fide occupational qualification exception under the ADEA allows employers to state a certain age as a job requirement.
What happens if the mandatory retirement age really doesn’t address a bona fide occupational requirement? In an age discrimination case against the Kentucky State Police Department, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Ohio) overturned a decision of the district court in favor of the employee police officers who were required to retire at the age of 55. The court, in its decision to overturn the district court, based its ruling on the following:
Increasingly, it is being recognized that mandatory retirement based solely upon age is arbitrary and that chronological age alone is a poor indicator of ability to perform a job. Mandatory retirement does not take into consideration actual differing abilities and capacities. Such forced retirement can cause hardships for older persons through loss of roles and loss of income. Those older persons who wish to be re-employed have a much more difficult time finding a new job than younger persons.
The court reversed the decision because the mandatory retirement age did not take any other factors into account and there were individuals who were younger than 55 who had terrible health problems but were not required to retire from the police force. Under the ADEA, a bona fide occupational qualification must be “reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business, or where the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age, or where such practices involve an employee in a workplace in a foreign country, and compliance with such subsections would cause such employer, or a corporation controlled by such employer, to violate the laws of the country in which such workplace is located.”
If you are an employee over the age of 40 years old and believe that you are being discriminated because you are older than other employees; or have be wrongfully terminated or fired instead of someone younger or were replaced with some younger than you, you may have an age discrimination claim under Ohio law or the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Even if you are not sure about your age discrimination claim, you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Age discrimination claims have very short statute of limitations, which means that you only have a very short amount of time to figure out if you have an age discrimination claim and take action. It is unlawful for employers to treat older employees differently. At the free initial consultation, you can tell us the specifics about how “my boss did …” or what happened on “my job.”
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