Age discrimination and mandatory retirement

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects individuals who are at least age 40 from discrimination based on age in hiring, firing, compensation, and the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. Because the legislature has included age among the specific categories protected by FEHA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of age in the terms of employment as well as in the hiring or firing of employees.

FEHA also prohibits mandatory retirement for employees who are capable of performing their jobs adequately, with a few limited exceptions:

* Tenured faculty members at institutions of higher education, if the institution permits reemploying such individual on year-to-year basis.
* Any physician employed by a professional medical corporation who is at least age 70, if the corporation’s bylaws provide for compulsory retirement; and * Any employee who is at least age 65 who, for the two years preceding retirement, held a bona fide executive or high policy making position, if the employee is immediately entitled no a non-forfeitable annual retirement benefit of at least $27,000.

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