Age Discrimination in Florida For Employers
Serving You and The State of Florida
If you own a business in Florida, you have to be aware of various hiring pitfalls as well as different kinds of problems that can occur within your staff related to the age of employees on your teams. Age discrimination is a serious issue in the state of Florida, and employers need to be careful that they are never discriminating against staff based on their age.
If you run a business in Florida, you know that the hiring process can be complex and that you must use care when selecting and offering jobs to potential new team members. Working with a skilled legal team can help you to ensure that all of your hiring practices are legal and fair as defined by the state of Florida.
The Lopez Law Group can help you to create hiring processes that will never cause issues with age discrimination.
What Do Employers in Florida Need to Know About Age Discrimination?
The definition of age discrimination in the state of Florida is important for business owners to know. When you are aware of how the law defines this possible hiring pitfall, you can avoid it when you are selecting new hires for your company.
In Florida, age discrimination occurs when a person’s age becomes a factor in them being able to obtain a job, a promotion, or benefits. Age also cannot be a factor in termination discussions. Choosing to evaluate an employee or hire an employee based on their age is not allowed by law in the state of Florida.
Age discrimination comes into play most often for those who are between the ages of 45 and 75. This is a nationwide problem that needs to have due attention placed upon it by all businesses. Being sure that you are not being ageist when hiring, promoting, or even firing employees is key to operating a business within the confines of the law.
What is the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act?
The ADEA protects employees who are over 40 years of age. This is the federal law that states that ageism in the workplace is not allowed. Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment law, employees are protected if they are working for an employer with at least 20 employees.
Florida law takes the national law a step further and states that employers of at least 15 employees must protect the employment rights of their staff from age-related discrimination, wrongful termination, and layoffs.
Whether you have one or one hundred employees, you should never use age as a reason to hire, fire, or promote any of your staff. These practices are unfair and problematic, and they can lead to legal action being taken against you.
Even if you only have two employees working for you, you should not open your business up to legal action due to age-related discrimination in the workplace.
Young people can also experience age discrimination when they are considered “too immature” to take on jobs that they are qualified to apply for or when they are questioned about their plans to stay in the area, to have a family, or to continue to take college classes.
While ageist hiring is more commonly directed at older people, there are also young people in the state of Florida who experience age-based hiring decisions, which are illegal.
The Florida age discrimination statute is part of a larger set of laws that outline fair hiring practices for all protected groups. These laws also define which kinds of considerations cannot play a role in hiring and firing in Florida.
You can easily access the language of these laws online, but sometimes it can be hard to tell if your HR department is conforming to these standards correctly. Having the oversight of a legal team working on your hiring and firing processes can help to make sure that your business is not taking illegal actions against current and former staff.
Race, color, orientation, sex, diversity, and national origin are also part of the protected classes that are outlined under Florida law. Most business owners are more aware of these factors than other considerations that cannot be used to decide who to hire, promote, or let go.
It can be a surprise to Florida employers that age is included in the protected classes which are laid out under employment law. These kinds of misconceptions can lead to illegal actions being taken by the HR team at your business without being aware that there is an issue.
Which Kinds of Practices Are Not Legal When Hiring, Firing or Promoting?
When you are looking to hire someone, you do need to ask them some personal questions about their goals or their preferred working arrangements, but there are lines that cannot be crossed related to age. You will need to be cautious about these common age-related hiring questions and work practices:
Calling someone you are interviewing or considering for a promotion by phrases like, “old man”, “baby”, “Senior citizen” is not allowed. You also cannot ask anyone if they think that they are too young or too old to accept the potential job offer they will receive.
Some companies stumble when considering staff for promotion, wanting to be cautious about promoting someone who is about to retire. These considerations cannot be part of these determinations, and if they are found to be the prime motivating factor for a hiring or promotion decision, the company could be sued by the worker.
Agism can also be expressed in the workplace through the treatment of specific age groups. Treating the young people or the older people in your workplace differently from one another can also be considered ageist, biased treatment.
If no one in a specific age group is ever given a promotion or is ever allowed to take on certain tasks or get certain jobs, this can indicate that age-related bias is being used to make these choices. The skill of the employee needs to be the foundation for all hiring, promotion, and wage-related determinations. Age cannot play a role in these choices.
While not common, some older or younger employees will experience harassment in the workplace by management or HR staff. This can be motivated by a desire to have the employee leave the company on their own without having to fire them, or it can be related to a personal grudge.
These kinds of practices cannot be tolerated, and employees who are subjected to them will have the right to take legal action against an employer for these actions.
Age-Related Determinations for Layoffs
It is a common tale to hear that layoffs were needed and only the older staff were released from employment. Companies often make the mistake of using this factor as part of their considerations when layoffs are required. This is just as illegal as firing someone specifically based on their age.
You cannot be discriminatory when layoffs are required for your business any more than you can be discriminatory when you are hiring new staff to join your company. Layoffs are always difficult to undertake, but you do need to be sure that you are equitable about the way that you take these actions to avoid discrimination-based determinations.
Make sure that your business is not engaged in these kinds of illegal actions. Working with a skilled legal team will help you to identify potential trouble areas in your business practice before it is too late. If you do have an employee who has brought suit against you for age-related discrimination, the team at Lopez Law Group can help to support your side of the story and secure a favorable outcome for everyone involved.
Being able to represent businesses when they have been accused of age-related discrimination requires skill and experience. The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience supporting businesses that have been accused of age-related discrimination and helping them to win their cases.
No matter if you need support to create better hiring and HR processes or if you need legal representation after an age discrimination suit has been brought against you, we can help!
Working With a Skilled Legal Team Matters
When you own a Florida business, there are many business-related concerns that might require the support of a skilled legal team. The team at Lopez Law Group can offer you access to a dedicated, thorough, and experienced legal team who can help you with all of your business needs.
Age-related discrimination is a serious subject in the state of Florida, and the employment lawyers at Lopez Law Group can help you to avoid age discrimination in your business or represent you when someone accuses your business of these kinds of practices.
Reach out to us today and get a consultation scheduled to discuss your needs. We have years of experience in providing legal guidance and support to businesses in Florida, and we are eager to get started working on your case.
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