Can older employees be forced to retire?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Mandatory retirement is outlawed under the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Workers over 40 are protected if working in a business with more than 20 employees. (However, those under 40 years of age, or who work for smaller employers often are protected by state law.) In fact, a March,1998 three-judge appellate panel decision out of New York held that for purposes of the 20-or more rule, the non-U.S. overseas employees of a foreign corporation may be counted in determining whether or not the foreign company, which had fewer than 20 U.S. employees, was large enough to be subject to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Your boss can offer older workers a voluntary retirement package without violating ADEA. Typically, should you accept the package, you will be asked to sign a waiver of your right to sue under the ADEA.

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