Employee Protection for Workers 40+ Years of AgeEmployees 40 years old and above are covered under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which is also known as the OWBPA. This is part of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, which prohibits employers from discriminating against older employees during hiring, training, and of course up to the termination process.
Employers are required to give additional information whenever two or more employees 40 years old or above are terminated at the same time, or in a similar timeframe. The strict rules commonly apply terminating employees, but also apply to early retirement plans, separation pays, and other voluntary resignation packages where employees usually sign a quitclaim.
General Rules for Terminating Employees Over the Age of 40The employer will be given a quitclaim for age discrimination claims, only if the release is signed by the employee with an understanding of what it means. The employee to be terminated must sign it voluntary. Generally, the release must follow the following terms.
- It must be in writing
- It must be written in an understandable manner for the employee
- It must be in a clear and plain language, free from any technical jargons
- It must not misinform the employee
- It must not exaggerate the benefits that an employee receives after signing the release
- It must specifically refer to the ADEA
- It must have a specific written advice that an employee should consult a lawyer before signing
Generally, employees who sign releases receive additional compensation, in addition to what he's entitled to receive. The OWBPA requires that employers should give employees ample time to consider signing the quitclaim or release.
- It must not require the employee to waive rights or other claims that may arise after the signing of the release
Typically, an employee has 21 days to consider. Material changes to the termination agreement would generally render a fresh period of 21 days, but both parties may mutually agree that the 21 days will run despite the changes.