Job Protection to Those Over 40: The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act – What You Need to Know

Posted by: kevensteinberg
Category: Blog, Employment Law, News
Older Worker

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) is a federal law which protects employees 40 years old and over from being forced into signing a release of certain claims. The OWBPA requires that employers provide employees 40 years old and over with information about their rights if the employer requires the employee to sign a release. It also imposes time limits and other requirements.

The requirements of the OWBPA differ depending on the circumstances, but in general, employers must:

● Provide the employee with a written explanation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and the employee’s rights under the law.

● Provide the employee with a 21-day (or 45-day, in the case of a reduction in force) period to consider the release.

● Allow the employee to have an attorney review the release before signing it.

● Make sure that the employee signs the release voluntarily.

If an employer violates the OWBPA, the employee may be able to invalidate the release and bring an ADEA claim against the employer.

If the employer’s severance agreement includes a waiver of ADEA claims, the employee should insist on information about any other fired employees. This information will allow the employee to determine whether he or she fits within the group of employees who were terminated, the rationale for the terminations and be a valuable tool for determining whether the employee has been a victim of discrimination or retaliation. For example, were only older (40 years and above) fired.

Many employers are unaware of their obligation to provide certain disclosures to employees under the OWBPA. Thus, employers should become familiar with this law and its requirements.

From both an employee and an employer perspective, it is critical that this law be known, understood and followed. Some important things to know and understand are:

● The OWBPA imposes certain requirements on the waiver process, and if these requirements are not met, the waiver may be invalid.

● The ADEA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of age, and there are a number of factors that can be considered in determining whether age discrimination has occurred.

● The law surrounding age discrimination is complex, and it is important to have an experienced attorney who can help you understand the duties, obligations, rights and options.

The attorneys at Steinberg Law are experienced in these issues, including alleged discrimination based on age. We can help you understand the complexities of the ADEA and the OWBPA and develop a strategy to protect your interests.

Author: kevensteinberg