What About Benefits?
Employers may not deny individuals the opportunity to participate in the employer’s benefit plans because of their age.
Employers may not reduce benefits based on age, unless the cost of the benefit increases with age. In those instances, the employer must incur the same cost for providing the benefits to older workers as it does for younger workers.
An example is life insurance. The cost of providing life insurance increases with age. Therefore, an employer does not violate the ADEA if it spends the same amount to buy life insurance for younger and older workers, even though the younger workers will receive greater coverage.
Filing a Claim
If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your age, you have the right to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the ADEA.
The EEOC will notify the employer that a charge of age discrimination has been filed against it and will investigate the charge.
If the EEOC determines that the charge has merit, it will attempt conciliation. This means the EEOC will try to persuade the employer to voluntarily eliminate and remedy the discrimination.
If conciliation fails, the EEOC could pursue your claim on your behalf. However, the agency does so in very few instances.
Important Information About Filing a Suit
Keep in mind that you have the right to proceed to federal court to pursue your age-discrimination claim, regardless of whether or not the EEOC finds merit in your claim.
In addition, you don’t have to wait for the EEOC to conclude its investigation before you file a lawsuit. You need only wait 60 days from after you file the charge. However, if you opt to wait for the EEOC to conclude its investigation, a lawsuit must be filed within 90 days after the agency notifies you that it has terminated the proceedings.
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