Gray Power: A few age exceptions do exist

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In a few narrow cases, ADEA allows employment-related decisions to be made based on age. Here are some examples:

-Where an employer must be able to prove that an age limit is necessary for the job. An example: A 60-year-old model or an actor in a teenage ad.

-An employer may reduce an employee&8217;s benefits based on his or her age if the cost of the benefit increases with the age of the employee and as long as the cost of the benefits provided to the older worker is not less than that for a younger worker (called equal cost or equal benefit rule).

-An employer may require employees to retire if they are at least 65 years old, entitles to an annual retirement benefit of at least $44,000 and have been in an executive or high policy-making position for at least two years prior to retirement.

-State and local governments are permitted to establish maximum hiring ages and mandatory retirement ages for public safety personnel. Higher education institutions may not force tenured faculty members into early retirement incentive plans that reduce or eliminate benefits based on age.

Employers who utilize stereotypes to make decisions about individual employees or official policies on hiring, firing, job assignments and employee benefits are violating the ADEA.

Age discrimination overlooks the talent, skills and experience that mature workers possess, which American business needs if it is to remain vital and competitive in the global economy.

Dr. Marvin Copes is an Education/Community Service Volunteer for AARP