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Discrimination on the Basis of Age

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for enforcing the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (Age Act), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance.  Under the Age Act, recipients may not exclude, deny, or limit services to, or otherwise discriminate against, persons on the basis of age.

Elder woman and a girlThe Age Act applies to persons of all ages.  However, it does not cover employment discrimination.  (Learn more about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.)  The Age Act also does not apply to certain age distinctions in Federal, State, or local statutes or ordinances.  In addition, a recipient may take an action that is otherwise prohibited if the action reasonably takes into account age as a factor that is necessary to the normal operation or achievement of a statutory objective of a program. 

Individuals who believe that they or someone else may have been discriminated against in violation of the Age Act may file a complaint with OCR.