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Age in America: Are mandatory retirement ages legal?

An employment attorney joined Scripps News to discuss the legality behind mandatory retirement ages as businesses have begun imposing them.
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Posted at 4:57 PM, Jun 17, 2024

The idea of the American dream for 62% of Americans includes being able to retire, a national Bankrate survey showed. But achieving that dream is getting harder.

More Americans are having to push back the age at which they retire, and some are even coming out of retirement to work again. That means more Americans are working past the age of 65, with Pew Research Center data from 2023 showing 19% of adults age 65 and older are employed in the U.S. That's up from just 12% in 1990.

But when people do decide to retire, they want to do it on their own terms. However, mandatory retirement policies could change that.

These policies aren't widespread in the working world, but some industries have them. Last year, 69% of S&P 500 boards had mandatory retirement ages, according to search firm Spencer Stuart. And commercial U.S. airline pilots are required to retire when they turn 65. Plus, more than 30 states require judges to step down at a certain age.

So although it's illegal for companies to impose a mandatory retirement age for rank-and-file employees, there are some exceptions to the rule.

Andrew Lieb, an employment attorney with expertise in addressing discrimination in the workplace, joined Scripps News to explain the discrepancies, why it's beneficial to have older workers in the workplace and what legal recourse older Americans have if they're pushed out of their job due to their age.

For the full interview, watch the video above.