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Can an employer deny benefits based on a worker’s age?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2018 | Employee Rights |

These days, keeping a job as an aging employee can feel more and more precarious with each passing year. As a younger, often cheaper to employ workforce swells in size, older workers with more experience regularly find companies looking for ways to hasten them out the door. While this is sometimes understandable from a very cynical, nothing but-the-numbers standpoint, it is far from an ethical practice.

One of the most common reasons that employers want to offload aging employees is the increased cost of health care as they age. Of course, considering the ballooning costs of health care, keeping your company benefits is an important part of your safety and well-being. It is good news, then, that the law restricts employers from denying benefits to an employee based on their age. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, employers may not discriminate against an employee or potential employee for their age or they may face serious penalties.

However, employers may restrict benefits by paying the same for differing employees’ coverage. Younger, typically healthier employees regularly receive greater coverage for the same dollar amount when compared to older employees. In this respect, employees do have some wiggle room, but they may not outright deny coverage based on age, according to the ADEA.

If you suspect your employer of age discrimination of any kind, don’t hesitate to take legal action to protect your rights. Defending your rights not only keeps you from discrimination, it also serves to make the workplace safer and more just for all workers, even those who do not yet realize how important it is to fight discrimination of all kinds.