There are various protections under the law for discrimination in the California workplace. The familiar ones include racial and sexual discrimination. There is also a federal law protecting you from age discrimination. However, this law differs a little from the other types of employment discrimination laws. The distinction is it only applies to you if you are over a certain age.
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission explains the Age Discrimination in Employment Act only protects you if you are at least 40 years old. If you are younger than 40, you have no protection against discrimination that an employer bases on your age. So, for example, if an employer will not hire you because he or she thinks you are too young, you do not have protection under this law to file a complaint about age discrimination.
The ADEA allows employers to favor you if you are over 40, but an employer cannot favor you if you are under 40. This is an interesting aspect of the law because most discrimination laws include everyone. However, the basis for this law is to prevent employers from trying to put out older workers and replace them with younger workers, which is an issue in many sectors. Younger workers do not usually face this issue.
Furthermore, the law helps to prevent employers from forcing retirement or getting rid of you just before you can claim pension or retirement benefits as a way to save money. Generally speaking, an employer can save money by using younger workers because it can pay them lower wages and offer less to the employee than it would to an older worker.
So, the ADEA is a unique discrimination law that provides you protection only if you are an older adult. This information is for education and is not legal advice.