North Carolina (NC) Age Discrimination Law in the Workplace

If you’re looking for help with an employment discrimination issue in North Carolina, you’ll probably find it with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency. The reason is that the North Carolina Human Relations Commission points out that the state does not have provision for filing lawsuits in its own “fair employment” law. Generally, you are allowed to file a “public policy” claim in court, although not with the state agency. This claim, based on state law, can be applied to businesses that have fewer than 20 employees.

If you contact the commission, you will be referred to the EEOC, other appropriate agencies or to a private attorney. As originally established, the Human Relations Commission in North Carolina exists to “promote equality” and “promote understanding” among citizens as well as to encourage equal employment opportunities for citizens.

The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services refer inquiries to the federal level too. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) you are covered if you work for an employer who has 20 or more workers and if you are 40 or over. Those who ask are told to be sure to file a complaint with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged incident.

North Carolina maintains an Office of Administrative Hearings, an office established by state law that may assist with cases from the EEOC. The chief judge of this agency is authorized to contract with the EEOC to serve as a “deferral agency” and to maintain a Civil Rights Division. Another way to seek employment help if you are an older worker is to contact the Senior Community Service Employment Program. This state program tries to place those 55 and older in part-time community service as a way to get them into the workforce.

The state’s Employment Security Commission focuses on such areas as finding job openings, estimating benefits, unemployment insurance, veterans’ employment, and “re-employment services and benefits.” This last category oversees such programs as the Workforce Investment Act, a federally funded program that provides services such as employment and training activities for adults and dislocated workers. The Employment Security Commission also administers Trade Adjustment Assistance, for those who may have been displaced or disadvantaged by foreign imports or free trade agreements.

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