Private employers. Mississippi has no comprehensive fair employment law covering private employers. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating against applicants and employees who are 40 years of age and older based on age.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, in addition to claims of intentional discrimination, the ADEA allows an employee to bring claims against an employer when seemingly age-neutral employment policies and practices adversely impact older workers (Smith v. City of Jackson, 125 S. Ct. 1536 (2005)). In its decision, the Court noted that, unlike disparate impact claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADEA allows an employer to defend against a disparate impact claim by showing that the disputed policy or practice was based on a "reasonable factor other than age."
Public employers. State law prohibits employment discrimination based on age in the Mississippi state personnel system (MS Code Sec. 25-9-103 et seq.). Applicants or employees alleging a violation of the law may file an age discrimination complaint with the state employee appeals board. The board is authorized to receive complaints, hold hearings, gather evidence, and render decisions on appeals of state agency actions that are alleged to have violated the law.