Retirement planning can be a sensitive topic for employees of all ages, but it becomes challenging for older workers who are often the target of age discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination against individuals age 40 or older in employment decisions, including retirement benefits.
Employers must comply with various federal and state laws when designing and administering retirement plans. These laws aim to protect employees’ rights and ensure that their retirement benefits are fairly distributed. Employers must maintain and document their compliance with these laws.
Employers should consult with their plan sponsors, HR, or legal counsel to ensure they are in compliance. Some of the laws that should be reviewed include the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the ADEA, which prohibit age discrimination in employment, including age-based benefit reductions.
Employers should never discuss an employee’s retirement plans unless the employee has initiated the discussion. Initiating a discussion does not include asking an employee about their retirement plans unless they offered that information voluntarily. Employers also should not be suggesting or pressuring employees to retire unless the employer can prove that age was not a factor in the decision to do so.
Employers can provide information on retirement plans or a neutral explanation about eligibility limits but cannot provide advice. It is also essential for employers to adopt and distribute policies against age discrimination to their employees.
Employers should not make any employment decision based on age. This includes making any decisions related to compensation, hiring, promoting, or terminating an employee based on the employee’s age. Older workers should be evaluated on their job performance and should be given the same opportunities as younger workers.
Employers should have policies and procedures in place to prevent age discrimination in retirement benefits. Companies can give educational and training opportunities on these policies to their workers, carry out internal evaluations, and enhance their hiring processes to select a diverse group of applicants.
Employers should also avoid age-based stereotypes, such as assuming younger employees are more tech-savvy and older employees are resistant to change. If employees are being offered an exit package or voluntary redundancy, employers should ensure that all employees over the age of 40 are treated equally.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Help to Protect Your Rights
Retirement plans must meet certain requirements. If you have experienced age discrimination at work, speak with our South Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.