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Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is the federal law governing age discrimination. It was enacted in 1967 to promote the employment of older persons based on ability rather than age, prevent discrimination, and help solve the problems that arise with an aging workforce. The ADEA prohibits an employer from refusing to hire or fire, or otherwise discriminate against a person age 40 or over, solely on the basis of age. Thus, an employer cannot deny an employee pay or fringe benefits where the only justification is age. Nor may an employer classify employees into groups on the basis of age in a way that unfairly deprives individuals of employment opportunities. For example, an employer may not relegate all older workers to a particular level of employment within a company and then decline to promote them.