Is a Mandatory Retirement Age Discriminatory? | BKL Lawyers

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Is a Mandatory Retirement Age Discriminatory?

Posted July 27, 2022 | Discrimination, Employment Law

Retirement is a goal that many people work hard to get to. While saving up for retirement is not easy, the average age that most people are able to retire at is 62. Of course, many people want to stay busy and love their careers, so some might want to continue to work even when they’re able to retire. However, many other employees may feel the pressure to retire sooner if their employers seem to favor younger employees. If this is true for you, you may be concerned that your employer will force you out before you’re ready to retire.

Many people are familiar with mandatory retirement ages, but is this practice legal? Learn more about whether or not requiring employees to retire by a certain age is considered age discrimination.

Forced Retirement Under Employment Laws

In workplaces where age discrimination is present, older employees may feel tempted to retire before they’re ready because they feel unwelcome, unwanted, and don’t have access to the same opportunities as younger employees. In some cases, employers may also imply that they need to retire by a certain age. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) considers mandatory retirement ages to be discriminatory in most cases. Additionally, terminating an employee due to their age is prohibited. 

While the ADEA provides protections to employees regarding age discrimination at the federal level, employees in New York City also have protections from state and local laws. Requiring an employee to retire by a certain age is typically illegal under New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

What Exceptions Are There to Forced Retirement?

While in most cases, federal, state, and local laws prohibit forced retirement, there are exceptions to this. Under the ADEA, mandatory retirement ages are allowed in cases where age is a bona fide occupational qualification, such as physically intensive jobs where age can become a safety concern. Some executive employees may also be an exception to the ADEA depending on how much control they have over the company, how long they’ve been with the company, and their retirement benefits. Additionally, a person’s rights regarding mandatory retirement ages can vary depending on whether they’re an employee or a partner. In some cases, partners may not have the same rights and protections as an employee, and may not be covered in situations like this. 

Under the NYSHRL and the NYCHRL, there are also exceptions that may allow certain employees to retire at a certain age. However, like the ADEA, this is only permissible when age is determined to be a bona fide occupational qualification. For example, judges and police officers may be required to retire by a certain age in New York. 

Facing Age Discrimination? Contact Brown Kwon & Lam

If you’re being discriminated against or harassed for your age, you might feel like leaving the workforce is your only choice, even if you’re not ready yet. This is even harder when your employer makes you feel like you need to retire by a certain age or face consequences. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of New York City employees in the workplace. If you feel like you’re being pushed out because of your age, you can help you get the justice you deserve.

Don’t let the years of hard work you’ve put into your career go to waste. Contact the age discrimination attorneys at Brown Kwon & Lam today.

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