Age Discrimination

Age discrimination affects all in the workplace. Recently, the Office of Human Rights released an article on age discrimination in the workplace that all employers should read. The County established the Office of Human Rights to help educate and promote compliance with human rights laws, provide technical assistance to the residents and the marketplace and provides mediation and conciliation services. Here in Montgomery County, a growing number of workers especially those who are 40 or older say there’s plenty of age discrimination in the workplace. They trade stories of both subtle and overt acts of discrimination that lead to frustration and desperation. The negative effects of age discrimination don’t stop there. They also impact employers and our community overall. An Age Discrimination Fact Sheet is provided for download and print. 

How Do I Know if I Have Been Discriminated Against?

Employment discrimination may occur when an employer treats you differently than others because of age in hiring, firing, assignment, promotion, compensation, working conditions or benefits.

Montgomery County laws prohibit discrimination in employment based on age protecting people who are 18 and older in accepting job applications, referring job applicants, hiring terms and conditions, apprenticeships, wages or salary, upgrading and promotion, or discharge.

Unlike Montgomery County law, under the State of Maryland, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals 40 years and older from age discrimination in employment.

How to Submit a Claim of Discrimination

If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, you may make an inquiry or submit an intake form by visiting, calling, mailing, emailing, or faxing the Office of Human Rights. Select the button below to download the Claim and  Inquiry Intake Form.

Claim and Inquiry Intake Form

An intake interview starts the process of filing a claim. During intake, a staff member will ask you about what happened, when and where it occurred, and who committed the alleged act(s). Staff will determine if the agency can accept the case and will prepare a formal complaint.

Note: a signed complaint must be filed within one year after the alleged discriminatory act or practice occurred.

Important Info

Chapter 27, Article 1, Section 27-20 of the Montgomery County Code requires:
“Every employer, employment agency and labor organization must keep posted in conspicuous places on its premises, where notices to employees, applicants for employment, and membership are customarily posted, a notice in the form and language approved by the Commission summarizing the pertinent provisions of this division and how to file a complaint."

What Happens Next?

  1. Accept / Reject

    Staff will either accept your complaint for docketing or reject a claim that does not fall within the Office of Human Rights.

  2. Mediate

    If your complaint is accepted, the parties discuss the issues and attempt to settle the case through a neutral trained facilitator.

  3. Investigate

    If the complaint does not settle in mediation, a staff member will get the facts from all parties.

  4. Decision

    A decision will be written and sent to all parties in the case.

  5. Conciliation

    If the Office of Human Rights finds discrimination, a session similar to mediation may be scheduled to try to resolve the issues.

  6. Public Hearing

    If the case is not resolved in conciliation, a public hearing will be held, the outcome of which may be:

    • Consent Agreement
    • Cease and desist order
    • Compensation
    • Corrective Action Plan
  7. Appeal

    If the Office of Human Rights does not find discrimination, a party may appeal the decision in court or to the Human Rights Commission within 30 days.

  8. Confidentiality

    All the processes in the Office of Human Rights are confidential and details are not disclosed to the public (except public hearing).

  9. Lawsuit

    You may file a discrimination case in court after 45 days of filing the signed complaint at the Office of Human Rights. If you file with the court, your case with the Office of Human Rights will be closed.

What Outcomes Are Possible?

Past remedies include:

  • Reinstatement of position
  • Promotion or reassignment
  • Reinstatement of lost wages and benefits
  • Compensation
  • Payment of attorney's fees and costs
  • Civil penalties

Each case is judged on its merits

Examples provided below:

  • You are better qualified for the position and you learn someone younger/older and less experienced was promoted.
  • Your employer refuses to pay you the current county minimum wage after you turned 18 years of age and after completing your training period.
  • Your boss uses inappropriate language to describe you, a younger/older member of the staff. For example, “wet behind the ears” or “old timer.”
  • You along with other employees were laid off, most were older, while younger workers with less seniority and less experience were kept on.

A fair work environment is important to everyone. There are times when that environment can be disrupted by discrimination in the workplace. The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights enforces laws against discrimination in employment, housing & real estate transactions, hate/violence, and public accommodations.