Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)

The attorneys at McMahon Berger law firm have substantial experience representing employers in claims filed under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (“ADEA”). For example, in Anderson v. Durham D&M, LLC, 606 F.3d 513 (8th Cir.2010), the appellate court upheld a motion for summary judgment granted against a former employee who alleged that he was harassed and ultimately terminated because of his age.

What is the ADEA?

The ADEA prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees 40 years of age and older. Illegal discrimination can occur in hiring, training, benefits, promotion, compensation, firing, lay-offs, and other terms and conditions of employment. Under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), an amendment to the ADEA, an employer may not reduce or deny benefits to employees 40 years or older unless the reduction renders the cost of benefits for older workers equal to the cost of benefits for younger workers.

Who is covered under the ADEA?

To be covered by the ADEA, an employer must:

Be engaged in an industry affecting commerce;
Have 20 or more employees; and
Have an employment relationship with the claimed employee.
What can an employer do to avoid an ADEA claim?

In addition to careful documentation and monitoring workplace behavior, employers must remember that very specific standards must be met before an employee may waive his or her rights under the ADEA in exchange for a severance package or other consideration given by the employer. A valid ADEA waiver must:

Be in writing;
Be understandable;
Specifically refer to the employee’s ADEA rights or claims;
Not waive any potential future rights or claims;
Advise the employee to speak with an attorney before signing the waiver; and
Provide the employee at least 21 days to think about the waiver and at least 7 days to revoke the waiver after signing it.
What if an ADEA claim has been filed against your company?

For more than 50 years, McMahon Berger law firm has successfully represented employers in age discrimination disputes. Whether an employer needs a separation agreement drafted in compliance with the rigid standards mandated by the ADEA or needs workplace training in how to curtail workplace behavior to avoid potential ADEA claims, McMahon Berger has the experience and ability to assist employers with ADEA related issues.

If your company needs assistance with an ADEA question or is subject to an ADEA claim, contact McMahon Berger law firm at 314-567-7350 or lawfirm(at)mcmahonberger.com.

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