Amendment highlights age discrimination concerns in Louisiana

On Nov. 4, Louisiana residents will go to the ballot box to vote on a variety of important state-wide issues. These include the election of state and local officials. However, it also includes a decision involving age discrimination. Louisiana voters will be asked to vote on a new constitutional amendment -- Constitutional Amendment No. 5. This amendment will eliminate mandatory retirement ages for judges within the state.

According to a recent study, many Louisiana residents have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. In fact, the study claims that as many as two out of every three Louisiana employees had experience with age discrimination. Ten percent of the people that were surveyed claimed that they had been terminated from their jobs because of their age. Additionally, nearly 20 percent of people who participated in the survey claimed they had either not been hired or had been passed over for a promotion because of their age.

Under federal employment laws, employment discrimination based on age -- if the employee is 40-years-old or older -- is illegal. Employers are not allowed to use age as a factor to determine if an employee should be terminated, promoted, given a raise or other accommodation.

In fact, age discrimination is just one type of illegal discrimination that can occur at work. Louisiana employers are prohibited from a variety of workplace discrimination based certain factors including an employee's race, religion, gender, pregnancy status, national origin or disability. If employees do suffer from illegal workplace discrimination, they should know that they have legal rights. In some situations, these employees may be entitled to compensation as a result of the discrimination.

Source: The News Star, "Letter: AARP says no to age discrimination," Oct. 16, 2014