Overview

If you are age 40 or over and believe you may have been discriminated against in employment due to your age, you may submit a discrimination complaint through the TWC Civil Rights Division. To learn more about the complaint process, see How to Submit an Employment Discrimination Complaint.

Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 (Chapter 21) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbid discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. The sections below address related situations.

The law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, and to all state and local governmental entities no matter how many employees they have.

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Job Notices & Ads

It is unlawful for an employer to include age requirements or limitations in job notices or advertisements. An employer may specify an age limit only when age is shown to be reasonably necessary to the operation of the business.

Examples: The owner of a bar may require that applicants for a bartending job be old enough to legally serve alcohol. Police and fire departments may set upper limits on age for some employment purposes.

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Pre-Employment Questions

State and federal laws do not specifically prohibit an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, asking for that information could indicate possible intent to discriminate based on age or may keep older workers from applying for employment. If the age information is needed for a lawful purpose, an employer can ask after the employee is hired.

When there is a complaint about possible age discrimination, our investigation will consider whether the request for age information was made for a lawful purpose or with intent to discriminate.

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Waiver of ADEA Rights

As part of a settlement agreement regarding a complaint of age discrimination, it is common for the employer to ask the employee to waive their rights under Chapter 21 and the ADEA in connection with severance pay or other incentives.

The ADEA provides standards for valid waivers.  The waiver must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be in writing and understandable
  • Specifically refer to ADEA rights or claims
  • Not ask you to waive rights or claims that may arise in the future
  • Be in exchange for valuable consideration in addition to anything of value to which you are already entitled, such as a larger severance package or additional benefits
  • Advise you in writing to consult an attorney before signing the waiver
  • Provide at least 21 days for you to consider the agreement and at least seven days to revoke the agreement after signing it

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Last Verified: April 17, 2013

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