Protections in the Workplace: Equal Pay and Age Discrimination

4/22/2019

Equal Pay

Older woman in a job interviewEmployees are protected from discrimination for compensation under several federal laws, including the following enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963: Prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Employers are prohibited from unlawful employment practices include discriminating against an individual through compensation based on a protected class.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967:  The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination against people 40 years of age or older.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: Prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual on the basis of disability. The applies to job application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

Compensation in this context includes salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation pay and holiday pay. It also includes cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits.

Women's earnings chart

 

In 2007, the extent of equal-pay protections was temporarily reduced when the Supreme Court ruled in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. that a victim had to file a complaint within 180 days of the original discriminatory pay decision. This decision was made even though at the time, the complainant was still receiving discriminatory pay. She argued that each paycheck amounted to a fresh instance of discrimination. After the court decision, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was enacted in 2009, to restore protections against pay discrimination. The act makes clear that pay discrimination claims on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, religion, and disability accrue whenever an employee receives a discriminatory paycheck, as well as when a initial discriminatory pay decision or practice is adopted. The law applies when a person becomes subject to the decision or practice, or when a person is otherwise affected by the decision or practice.

According to the most recent data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings that were 82 percent of those of male full-time wage and salary workers.  Since 2004, the women’s-to men’s earnings ratio has remained in the 80 percent to 83 percent range.

To address the gender pay gap and ensure pay equity, states have established laws that seek to eliminate pay differences based on sex. In some cases, these measures apply to other protected categories as well.  Most states have laws prohibiting wage discrimination based on sex. The language in the laws are usually similar to the federal Equal Pay Act and contain the same exceptions. Other states have expanded their equal pay protections by including them in the protections they already had against discrimination in the workplace. Mississippi currently is the only state that does not have equal pay laws. Alabama currently only prohibits pay discrimination based on age. North Carolina currently only prohibits pay discrimination based on disability. Texas, Utah and Wisconsin do not explicitly include gender or sex in their equal compensation protections. They do state that employers can not discriminate when compensating specific protected classes already in state law. Seven states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont, prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s previous salary history. This is a new policy solution states are looking towards in order to end the cycle of pay discrimination against specific protected classes. In 2017, state laws against this practice started being enacted. Currently, three states--Illinois, Maine, New York--are considering such measures.

Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 is a federal law that prohibits age discrimination against individuals who are 40 and over. It does not protect other workers under age discrimination. States have looked to federal law for guidance when establishing these types of protections on the state level. Prohibiting age discrimination is one of the most common workplace discrimination prohibitions in state law. Currently, 46 states have included this protected class within their laws. Eighteen of these states-- plus D.C. and Puerto Rico--do not require an individual to be at least age 40 for age discrimination to exist. The rest of these laws are modeled after the federal law requiring the individual who is claiming discrimination based on age must be 40 or over.

Some states are looking at other ways employers may be discriminating against job applicants, even before the interview. Currently, the Connecticut legislature is considering legislation prohibiting employers from asking the year an individual graduated from high school or college because it could give insight on the applicant's age.

Below are two charts that outline what the current protections are regarding equal pay and age in the workplace in all 50 states. 

STATE

EQUAL PAY PROTECTIONS IN STATE LAWS

Alabama

Employers can't discriminate based on age, including in compensation.

Alaska

Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on race, religion, color, or national origin, which includes ancestry. They also can't discriminate in compensation based on age, physical or mental disability, sex, marital status, marital status changes, pregnancy, or parenthood, unless a distinction on that basis is required by business necessity or a position's reasonable demands. In addition, employers can't pay female employees at a lower rate than the rate paid to male employees for comparable work or for work in the same operation, business, or line of work at the same locality.

Arizona

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are less than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for the same quality and quantity of the same classification of work in the same establishment. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, age (40 and older), national origin, or disability.

Arkansas

Employers can't discriminate solely based on sex in the payment of wages and compensation. They also can't pay female employees at wage rates that are less than the wage rates paid to male employees for comparable work.

California

Employers can't pay different wage rates based on sex, race, or ethnicity under the equal pay law. They also can't discriminate in compensation based on certain protected classes under the fair employment practices law. In addition, employers can't prohibit employees from disclosing their wages and asking about or discussing other employees' wages. Employers can't seek information about applicants' salaries, compensation, or benefits histories, and can't rely on such information as a factor in determining whether to offer applicants employment or what salary to offer them.

Colorado

Employers can't discriminate solely based on sex in the amount of wages or salary paid to employees. They also can't discriminate in compensation against qualified employees or applicants based on disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age (40 and older), national origin, or ancestry. In addition, employers can't discriminate in compensation against employees or applicants with disabilities because they are accompanied by a service animal that is individually trained for them. Employers can't require employees to refrain from disclosing their wages as a condition of employment.

Connecticut

Employers can't discriminate in compensation solely based on employees' sex. They also can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. Unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification or need, employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law. Employers can't prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their wages or other employees' wages. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employers can't inquire about applicants' wage or salary history unless they disclose such information voluntarily.

Delaware

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar work conditions in the same workplace. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law. Employers can't prohibit employees from asking about, discussing, or disclosing their wages or other employees' wages and can't discriminate against them for doing so. Employers also can't screen applicants based on their compensation history and can't seek this information from them or their current or former employers.

Florida

Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on certain protected classes. They also can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wage rates that are less than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.

Georgia

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same workplace.

Hawaii

Employers can't discriminate in the payment of wages based on race, religion, or sex. Employers also can't discriminate against employees based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wage rates that are less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar work conditions in the same establishment. In addition, employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, employers can't prohibit employees from disclosing their wages, discussing or inquiring about other employees' wages, or aiding or encouraging other employees to exercise these rights. Employers can't inquire about applicants' salary history or rely on it to determine their salary, benefits, or other compensation during the hiring process, unless they disclose this information voluntarily and without prompting.

Idaho

Employers must pay equal wages for equal work and can't use gender to set compensation. Employers also can't discriminate against employees in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

Illinois

Employers can't discriminate based on sex, based on mental or physical disability, or against African-Americans (effective Jan. 1, 2019) in the payment of wages. Employers also can't discriminate against employees because they ask about, disclose, compare, or otherwise discuss their wages or other employees' wages.

Employers can't discriminate based on sex in negotiating or establishing wages, benefits, or other compensation. Employers also can't differentiate wages or benefits based on sex among employees performing the same or substantially similar work under similar work conditions.

Employers can't employ women or minors at an oppressive and unreasonable wage. Employers also can't pay or agree to pay women or minors less than the rates applicable to them under a mandatory minimum fair wage order.

Indiana

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same workplace.

Iowa

Employers can't discriminate in pay based on age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability. Specifically, employers can't pay wages to employees in a protected class at rates that are less than the rates paid to other employees for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment.

Kansas

Employers must pay equal wages for equal work and can't use gender to set compensation.

Kentucky

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wage rates that are less the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work that requires comparable skill, effort and responsibility in the same establishment. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age (40 and older), disability, or status as a smoker or nonsmoker.

Louisiana

Employers generally can't discriminate against employees in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and older), disability, sickle cell trait, genetic information or pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Maine

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are less than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work that requires comparable skill, effort, and responsibility at the same establishment. Employers must allow employees to disclose their wages or ask about other employees' wages to enforce their rights under the equal pay law.

Maryland

Employers can't pay employees of one sex or gender identity at wage rates that are less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex or gender identity if they work in the same establishment and perform work that is comparable or on the same operation, in the same business, or of the same type. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law. In addition, employers generally must allow employees to ask about, discuss, or disclose their wages or other employees' wages.

Massachusetts

Employers can't discriminate based on gender in the payment of wages. They also can't pay employees of one gender at salary or wage rates that are less than the rates paid to employees of a different gender for comparable work. In addition, employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law, unless this discrimination is based on a bona fide occupational qualification.

Employers can't prohibit employees from asking about, discussing, or disclosing information about their wages or other employees' wages. Employers also can't seek applicants' wage or salary history from them or their current or former employers, unless an offer of employment with compensation has been negotiated and made, and can't require that this history meet certain criteria.

Michigan

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying discriminatory wage rates for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions at the same workplace. They also can't discriminate in compensation based on certain protected classes. In addition, employers can't require employees to refrain from disclosing their wages as a condition of employment.

Minnesota

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. They also can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under Minnesota fair employment practices law, unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification. In addition, employers can't prohibit employees from disclosing their wages.

Mississippi

Mississippi doesn't have pay discrimination statutes or regulations that apply generally to private-sector employment.

Missouri

Employers can't discriminate in pay based on sex. They can, however, pay wage differentials and apply different compensation standards to employees under certain circumstances.

Montana

Employers can't pay female employees less than male employees for equivalent services or for the same amount or class of work in the same industry or workplace. Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, marital status or sex (including pregnancy), unless a position's reasonable demands require distinctions based on age, physical or mental disability, marital status or sex.

Nebraska

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wage rates that are less than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status, national origin or pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Nevada

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wages that are lower than the wages paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment. Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or national origin. Employers can't discriminate against employees in compensation because they lawfully use any product off employer premises during nonwork hours, unless such use adversely affects their job performance or co-workers' safety. Employers can't discriminate against employees because they ask about, discuss, or voluntarily disclose their wages or other employees' wages.

New Hampshire

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at rates that are less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law, unless this discrimination is based on a bona fide occupational qualification.

New Jersey

Employers can't discriminate in compensation or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law. Employers also can't pay employees who are members of a protected class at a rate of compensation or benefits that is less than the rate paid to other employees for substantially similar work in terms of skill, effort, and responsibility; however, they can pay different rates of compensation or benefits under certain conditions. In addition, employers can't discriminate in wage rates or payment methods based on sex.

Employers can't retaliate against employees for requesting, discussing, or disclosing certain compensation-related information, and can't require them to agree not to make these requests or disclosures.

New Mexico

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, physical or mental handicap, serious medical condition, spousal affiliation, sexual orientation, or gender identity, unless such discrimination is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or another statutory prohibition.

New York

Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law. They also can't pay wage rates to employees of one sex that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment. In addition, employers can't prohibit employees from asking about, discussing, or disclosing their wages or other employees' wages.

North Carolina

Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on disability.

North Dakota

Employers cannot discriminate in pay based on sex for comparable work that requires comparable skill, effort and responsibility in the same establishment. Employers also cannot discriminate against employees in compensation based on protected status categories.

Ohio

Employers can't discriminate in pay based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or ancestry.

Oklahoma

Employers can't pay female employees at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to male employees for comparable work that requires comparable skill, effort and responsibility. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information or disability, unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to the normal business operations.

Oregon

Until Jan. 1, 2019, employers can't discriminate based on sex in the payment of wages for comparable work that requires comparable skills. They also can't pay wage rates to employees of one sex that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work that requires comparable skills. In addition, employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law, unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, employers can't discriminate based on a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for comparable work. They also can't pay wages or other compensation to any employee at a rate higher than the rate paid to employees of a protected class for comparable work. In addition, employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law, unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification.

Employers can't take adverse action against employees because they ask about, discuss, or disclose their wages or other employees' wages. Employers also can't, beginning Jan. 1, 2019, screen applicants or determine compensation for positions based on their current or past compensation. In addition, employers can't seek employees' and applicants' salary history from them or their current or former employers.

Pennsylvania

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same workplace. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age (40 and older), sex, national origin, nonjob-related handicap or disability or the use of guide or support animals because of blindness, deafness or physical handicap, unless this discrimination is based on bona fide occupational qualifications or applicable federal or state security regulations.

Rhode Island

Employers can't pay female employees at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to male employees for equal work or for work on the same operations. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age or ancestry.

South Carolina

Employers can't discriminate against employees in compensation based on race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or disability.

South Dakota

Employers can't discriminate based on sex in the payment of wages and compensation.

Tennessee

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates or salaries that are lower than the wage rates or salaries paid to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work that requires comparable skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions. Employers also can't discriminate in compensation based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, age (40 and older) or national origin.

Texas

Employers can apply different compensation standards under certain conditions if these differences don't discriminate based on protected classes under Texas fair employment practices law.

Utah

Employers can't discriminate against otherwise qualified employees in compensation based on protected status categories.

Vermont

Employers can't discriminate based on sex by paying employees of one sex at wage rates that are less than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar work conditions. Employers also can't prohibit employees from disclosing their wages and asking about or discussing other employees' wages. In addition, employers can't ask or seek information about applicants' current or past compensation and can't screen them based on this information.

Virginia

Employers must pay equal wages for equal work and cannot use gender to set compensation.

Washington

Employers can't discriminate based on gender in providing compensation to employees who are similarly employed. Employers also can't discriminate based on gender by limiting employees' career advancement opportunities or depriving them of such opportunities that would otherwise be available. In addition, employers can't discriminate in compensation based on protected classes under the fair employment practices law, unless a bona fide occupational qualification applies. Employers can't require employees to refrain from disclosing their wages and can't retaliate against them for discussing their wages or other employees' wages.

West Virginia

Employers can't discriminate based on sex in paying wages for work of comparable character that requires comparable skills. Employers also can't discriminate against employees in compensation if they are able and competent to perform required duties.

Wisconsin

Employers can't discriminate in compensation based on certain protected classes. Employers can solicit information about applicants' salary history.

Wyoming

Employers can't pay employees of one sex at wage rates that are lower than the wage rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment.

 

STATE AGE DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS IN STATE LAW 

Alabama

Employers can't discriminate based on age.

Alaska

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless a distinction on that basis is required by business necessity or a position's reasonable demands.

Arizona

Employers generally can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification.

Arkansas

No data.

California

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless a permissible defense applies.

Colorado

Employers can't discriminate against qualified employees or applicants based on age (40 and older), unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification or discrimination is based on reasonable factors other than age. Employers also can't discriminate based on age among employees and applicants in the protected age group.

Connecticut

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification or need. Retirement or pension plans can't exclude employees or cease or reduce their benefit accruals or allocations based on age.

Delaware

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless this factor is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

Florida

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to job performance.

Georgia

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 to 70).

Hawaii

Employers can't discriminate based on age, except as permitted for certain bona fide occupational qualifications.

Idaho

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older); however, they can hire based on age if it is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

Illinois

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older). They also can't discriminate based on age (18 to 39) in making selections for or referrals to apprenticeship or other training programs or in conducting these programs. Employers can apply different compensation standards or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment pursuant to retirement systems if these systems and their administration aren't used as a subterfuge for, and don't result in, unlawful discrimination.

Indiana

Employers can't discriminate against employees and applicants based on age in hiring, rehiring and termination.

Iowa

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless this discrimination is based on the nature of the occupation. This prohibition doesn't apply to anyone under age 18, unless the person is considered by law to be an adult.

Kansas

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless there is a valid business necessity for this discrimination. Employers also can't set arbitrary age limits for employment or make pre-employment inquiries that discriminate based on age, unless these limits or inquiries are based on bona fide occupational requirements.

Employers can discriminate based on age if differentiations also are based on necessary factors other than age. Employers also can observe the terms of retirement plans or benefit systems that differentiate costs based on age if these plans or systems weren't created to evade the age discrimination prohibitions; however, the plans or systems can't require or permit involuntary retirement and can't be used to justify a failure to hire. In addition, employers can compel the retirement of employees who are age 65 or older if they are an executive or other high-ranking employee for the two-year period immediately preceding retirement and they are entitled to an immediate, nonforfeitable, annual retirement benefit of at least $44,000 from pension, profit-sharing, savings, or deferred compensation plans.

Employers must communicate the essential terms of seniority systems to affected employees.

Kentucky

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 or older); however, they can establish minimum hiring ages that are otherwise provided by law.

Louisiana

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older).

Maine

Employers can't discriminate based on age.

Maryland

Employers can't discriminate based on age, although they can make hiring or employment decisions based on age if age is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

Massachusetts

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless this discrimination is based on a bona fide occupational qualification. Employers also can't discharge employees over age 40 or refuse to employ applicants over age 40 because of their age, except as permitted by the retirement provisions. Employers can mandate retirement for employees, age 65 or older, under certain conditions.

Michigan

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

Minnesota

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification.

Mississippi

No data.

Missouri

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 to 69).

Montana

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless a position's reasonable demands require distinctions based on age.

Nebraska

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older).

Nevada

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless age (40 and older) is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

New Hampshire

Employers can't discriminate based on age, unless a bona fide occupational qualification applies.

New Jersey

Employers generally can't discriminate based on age. However, they can refuse to employ anyone under age 18 and can refuse to hire or promote anyone over age 70. Employers can require employees' retirement under certain conditions.

New Mexico

Employers can't discriminate against otherwise qualified employees and applicants based on age, unless such discrimination is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or another statutory prohibition.

New York

Employers can't discriminate based on age (18 and older). Employers generally can't require employees to retire based on age, unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

North Carolina

Employers can't discriminate based on age.

North Dakota

Employers cannot discriminate based on age (40 and older). Employers can compel the retirement of employees who have reached 65, but not 70, years of age; were an executive or other high policymaking employee for the two-year period immediately preceding retirement; and are entitled to an immediate, nonforfeiture annual retirement benefit from a pension, profit-sharing, savings or other deferred compensation plan or any combination of such plans, which total at least $44,000.

Ohio

Employers cannot discriminate based on age (40 and older). Employers cannot discriminate in any job opening against any applicant or discharge any employee without just cause based on age. Employers can establish a bona fide job-related employment qualification; observe terms of a bona fide seniority system or employee benefit plan, such as a retirement, pension or insurance plan, that is not created to evade discrimination prohibitions; and observe any bona fide apprenticeship program. However, no retirement plan or system can require or permit involuntary retirement or excuse failure to hire based on age. An employer can retire an employee who has attained 65, was a bona fide executive or high policymaking employee for the two-year period immediately before retirement and is entitled to an immediate nonforfeitable annual retirement benefit from a pension, profit-sharing, savings or deferred compensation plan that, in the aggregate, equals at least $44,000.

Oklahoma

Employers can't discriminate against employees and applicants age 40 to 70. However, in certain circumstances, employers can provide additional benefits, such as increased severance pay, to older employees.

It isn't discriminatory to require the retirement of employees age 65 or older if such employees have been employed in an executive or high policy-making position for the two-year period immediately before retirement and are entitled to an immediate annual retirement benefit that can't be forfeited and totals at least $44,000.

Age limitations for apprenticeship programs are permitted.

Oregon

Employers can't discriminate based on age (18 and older), unless this discrimination is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification.

Pennsylvania

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless this discrimination is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or applicable federal or state security regulations.

Rhode Island

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older).

South Carolina

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to normal business operations.

South Dakota

No data

Tennessee

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older), except where age is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business or the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age. Employers also are permitted to observe the terms of bona fide seniority systems or employee benefit plans that aren't taken to evade the intent of the discrimination prohibitions.

Involuntary retirement of covered employees generally isn't permitted. However, compulsory retirement is permitted in the case of employees who are at least 65 and have been employed for a two-year period immediately before retirement in a bona fide executive or high policy-making position, provided that they are entitled to an immediate annual retirement benefit that isn't forfeitable and totals at least $44,000.

Texas

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older).

Utah

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older).

Vermont

Employers can't discriminate based on age (18 and older), unless a bona fide occupational qualification requires people of a particular age.

Virginia

Employers with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate based on age. Employers with six to 19 employees cannot discharge employees based on age (40 and older).

Washington

Employers can't discriminate based on actual or perceived age (40 to 70), unless a bona fide occupational qualification applies.

West Virginia

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 or older), unless this discrimination is based on bona fide occupational qualifications or applicable federal or state security regulations.

Wisconsin

Employers can't discriminate based on age (40 and older).

Wyoming

Employers can't discriminate against qualified employees and applicants based on age (40 and older).

Source: Bloomberg Law

Please note NCSL cannot provide advice or assistance to private citizens or businesses regarding employment-related matters. Please consult your state department of labor or a private attorney.