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Have You Experienced Age Discrimination In The Workplace?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed to protect all individuals from age discrimination in the workplace. Regardless of federal and state protections, age discrimination and harassment are very common.

According to ADEA, an employer is not allowed to favor anyone who is under the age of 40 over an employee who is over 40 on the basis of age. If you were the victim of age discrimination in the workplace you may be entitled to damages for:

What Does Age Discrimination Look Like?

If you believe you have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, please read below. We will discuss a few examples of what age discrimination in the workplace may look like.

Being Isolated Or Left Out

An employer or direct supervisor may start leaving you out of important meetings or exclude you from decision making. They may move your desk far away from your team members, which can make it difficult or impossible to contribute and be a valuable teammate.

In the worst scenario, an employer may force you to work from home or even move you to a different location, which can become a major disruption and financial burden.

Hearing Age Based Comments or Insults at Work

An employer who is “playfully” calling you names or harassing you about your age is possibly trying to get you to quit. It’s easier for an employer to harass someone into quitting than it is to fire them, especially when the reason for firing that employee is based on his or her age.

The Company Only Hires Young Employees

If you notice that an employer only seems to hire young employees, it might not be your imagination. Most employers will never admit it, but they are exclusively in search of younger workers. This approach is usually motivated by misconceptions about older workers’ ability, work pace, or sociability/relatability.

It is important for older job applicants and employees to understand that employers sometimes use the term overqualified as an excuse to engage in age discrimination. In short, it is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire an older person because that employer believes he or she is overqualified and may become dissatisfied and leave the job.

Can An Employer Discriminate Against Me Because Of My Age?

It is illegal to discriminate against an employee in all aspects of the employment process. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against individuals who oppose discriminatory practices or for filing an age discrimination claim.

ADEA protections apply to:

  1. Job Postings. It is generally unlawful to include age preferences, specifications, or limitations in job postings or advertisements. A job posting may only specify an age limit when age is shown to be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) that is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a business.
  2. Pre-Employment Questions. According to the ADEA, an employer is not explicitly prohibited from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, these types of questions may have the adverse effect of deterring an older worker from applying for a job. Further, asking these questions may also indicate an intent to discriminate against a job applicant because of his or her age. Finally, if a job applicant’s age or date of birth is necessary for a lawful purpose, it can be requested once the employee has been hired.
  3. Apprenticeship Programs. It is illegal for an apprenticeship program — such as a joint labor management apprenticeship program — to discriminate because of someone’s age. Age restrictions in an apprenticeship program are only valid when they fall within specific exceptions under ADEA, or when the EEOC has granted a specific exemption.
  4. BenefitsThe Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) was introduced as an amendment to the ADEA to specifically forbid employers from denying benefits to older employees. The cost of offering benefits to older workers can be much greater than the cost of offering the same benefits to younger workers. It goes without saying that this increase in costs may create a disincentive to hire an older worker.

Under some circumstances, an employer can reduce benefits based on an employee’s age, but only if the cost of providing those benefits to an older worker is not less than the cost of providing the same benefits to a younger worker.

What Are The Implications Of Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is particularly egregious because it typically affects workers who are well qualified, educated, and possess years of valuable experience. 

Let’s take a look at John, a clothing designer who was let go after 20 years of hard work because his company decided to restructure. At the time, he was the oldest and best paid designer in his department. Despite being the hardest working and most experienced team member, he was still let go. 

Since then, John has gone on several interviews. And despite being as talented as anyone, he is met with strange looks when people see how old he really is. He has not received a single job offer. John is now worried that he may never work again.

What Laws In California Protect Me From Age Discrimination?

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) exists to prohibit discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including age. If an employee has been demoted, fired, denied a position, or treated unfairly because of his or her age, they may have grounds for an age discrimination lawsuit.

An aggrieved employee may bring an age discrimination claim under FEHA or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).The ADEA is the primary federal law that prohibits an employer from discriminating against any employee or job applicant who is at least 40 years old.

Further, the ADEA applies to all private employers with at least 20 employees, as well as federal and local governments. ADEA also applies to state governments. However, state employees are not permitted to sue them directly for age discrimination.

Can I Be Fired For Reporting Age Discrimination?

FEHA offers protections for employees who are retaliated against for:

  • Opposing instances of workplace harassment.
  • Participating in discrimination investigations or government inquiries.
  • Filing a discrimination or harassment claim.
  • Opposing discrimination against other employees.
  • Reporting age discrimination.

Further, an employer is forbidden from taking retaliatory action — such as reducing pay or termination — against any employee who cites discrimination or harassment violations or who files an age discrimination lawsuit. 

An employer who fires an employee for filing an age discrimination claim is guilty of wrongful termination. An employee who is retaliated against for reporting age discrimination may be able to file a complaint with FEHA or file a lawsuit against their former employee for retaliation or wrongful termination.

Available Damages In An Age Discrimination Claim

Damages in an age employment discrimination claim may include:

  • Pay increases from a promotion
  • Bonus payments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Benefits
  • Pension benefits
  • Back pay

If an employee was fired because of his or her age, the court can order an employer to rehire that employee. The court can also mandate an employer to promote an aggrieved employee. However, these options are rarely enforced because most employees do not want to come back to a hostile workplace

West Coast Employment Lawyers Is Here to Help

The best course of action is to secure legal advice immediately upon determining that unfair treatment has or is occurring at your workplace. West Coast Employment Lawyers will do everything possible to construct effective arguments to win your case. Our attorneys are committed to helping victims of age discrimination discrimination receive full vindication, fair compensation, and the peace of mind they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been wrongfully discriminated against or terminated at work due to their age, immediately contact West Coast Employment Lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation with an age discrimination lawyer at our firm. You can reach our legal team 24/7 by calling 213-927-3700 or emailing [email protected].


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