Recently, there have been articles written about how millennials face employment discrimination because of their age. Some examples are here, here, and here. Millennials face discriminatory stereotypes such as that they are unpredictable or do not have a strong work ethic. Employers who engage in this sort of discrimination are certainly shooting themselves in the foot because there is a lot of research which shows that diverse workforces, including employees of diverse ages, improve an organization’s performance. Diverse teams are better at solving problems than non-diverse teams.
These articles all raise the problem that federal law does not prohibit discrimination against workers because they are young. The federal age discrimination law only protects workers aged 40 or above from age discrimination. Maine law, however, prohibits all forms of age discrimination—even discrimination against workers because they are young.
Even though Maine law prohibits age discrimination against younger workers, it can be difficult to determine whether an employer has discriminated against a worker because she is young or because she lacks relevant experience. There are, however, ways around this issue. For example, if an employer requires applicants to have decades of experience for a position that does not actually require such a high level of experience, that could be a sign that the employer is trying to exclude applicants because of they are young. Furthermore, managers will sometimes make statements that reveal their bias. This is because discriminatory attitudes about millennials, as compared to discriminatory attitudes about race or gender, are relatively socially acceptable to many people.
If you believe you have experienced age discrimination, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your rights.