By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A study in the Human Resources Management Journal found that young workers felt they faced age discrimination as often as older workers, a claim that most older workers give as much sympathy as marching band members give to the cheerleaders who claim discrimination for being too pretty.

When a 25-year-old Rhode Island man was terminated, his boss told him that he was sorry to let him go but found him to be “immature.” The former employee was the youngest member of the small office by more than 15 years and wanted to sue for age discrimination.

Too bad for junior, many people wrongly – albeit logically – assume that the Age Discrimination In Employment Act protects people from being judged on the basis of their age. But what the federal law actually does is protect workers age 40 and over from discrimination on the basis of their age.

While a few states protect all workers 18 years and older, most workers under age 40 cannot sue for age discrimination. But the day will come that you will turn 40 and then you may rather wish for youth than for legal protection after all.