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Should I waive my age discrimination rights at work?

As you grow older, it can be increasingly difficult to remain vital and present in the workplace. The pace of commerce and the constant changes to business methods and tools require older employees to stay on top of these issues. On top of these struggles, many older employees find themselves treated unfairly because of their age.

In many cases, older employees can protect themselves against age discrimination using the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). But what if an employer asks them to waive their age discrimination rights in order to receive a severance package or some other consideration?

For those who recently encountered this issue, it may seem suspect. In practice, this is a relatively common request, but it is important to make sure that it meets appropriate standards before agreeing to sign away rights. In order for an employee to consider signing away his or her age discrimination rights, the employer must compensate the employee fairly, and may only request the employee waive his or her rights in that particular instance, having no bearings on future employment.

Furthermore, such a request must include a provision that allows the employee at least 21 days to review the employer's request and accompanying offer, and also a provision that grants the employee seven days to revoke the agreement once he or she waives rights.

If your employer recently asked you to waive your age discrimination rights, you may have very good reasons for wanting to do so. Still, it is important to carefully review the terms of the offer to make sure that your compensation for waiving your rights is fair before agreeing. Be sure to examine the details of any such request to keep your rights and privileges protected before you sign away protections needlessly.

Source: FindLaw, "Age Discrimination in Employment," accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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