These Are Cases Our Age Discrimination Attorneys Can Help You With
Illegal Early Retirement Deals
Early retirement deals, also known as golden handshakes, are not always legitimate. When an employer bases these deals on the age of a worker over 40, with no other legitimate business reason, a violation of federal and state age discrimination law has occurred.
Illegal Employee Replacement
Employers commonly refresh the labor force by replacing workers on a routine basis. However, when an employee over the age of 40 can prove a replacement occurred specifically in order to hire or promote a younger employee, he or she could have a case for age discrimination under both state and federal law.
Illegal Wage Determinations
Violations of age discrimination laws can occur with any aspect of employment. Particularly, with wages and salaries, an employer must not make unfair wage determinations based on the over 40 status of a worker. For instance, an employer may be liable for age discrimiation when it uses age to determine that an older worker with higher pay due to seniority should be replaced with a younger worker with less seniority.
Inequality in Job Benefits
In addition to the ADEA, workers also have federal protection against age discrimination via the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. The Act requires employers to treat older and younger employees equally in terms of the scope and amount of of benefits received. Though employers may be tempted to spend less on benefits for older workers or offer less coverage than younger workers, both these actions are prohibited by federal law.
Protections Against Age Discrimination in California
Older adults in California are protected by two pieces of legislation against age discrimination in the workplace:
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces federal age discrimination laws set in place by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The Act applies to companies with 15 or more employees and requires that employers refrain from singling out workers over the age of 40 in the terms and conditions of employment as well as in job advertisements. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
The Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA)
The state of California addresses age discrimination in the Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA). Like the ADEA, California Government Code 12900-12996 in the FEHA prohibits age discrimination for workers 40 years of age or older in all areas of employment. These individuals are considered a “protected class” under the FEHA.
Unlike the ADEA, the FEHA extends coverage to employers with 5 or more full-time or part-time workers. Protections for this class of workers also apply to unions, labor organizations, apprenticeship training programs, and employment agencies, or those who enter severance agreements upon termination.
Both federal and state law provide remedies for retaliation based on age discrimination as well. The ADEA and the FEHA make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who file age discrimination complaints or charges or who participate in age discrimination court proceedings.
How an Age Discrimination Claim Is Proven
Age discrimination cases typically require that individuals take certain steps before they are able to file a lawsuit against their employees. An age discrimination attorney will most likely take your case to the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) in order to get a right to sue without waiting for the administrative process first, as is typically required.
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of the discrimination in order to file a pre-complaint inquiry. A representative from the CRD will then be in contact with you and your attorney to conduct an intake interview and determine whether the complaint will be accepted to be investigated.
If this investigation finds there was age discrimination, the agency will deliver a complaint to the employer and you can dual-file with the EEOC, and legal action will be taken if mediation cannot settle the dispute. If the complaint does not show a violation, you would still have the immediate right to file a lawsuit.
It is not an easy feat to prove age discrimination in California. Employers would never openly admit to engaging in discriminatory practices, so they will attempt to create a cover that justifies the action by pointing to other factors besides age, such as downsizing, poor performance, or company reorganization.
However, you should not take these statements at face value because an employer that is engaging in age discrimination has something to gain by hiding these actions. An attorney for age discrimination can assist you in filing an age discrimination claim, wherein a plaintiff must prove that he or she was:
- 40 years old or older at the time of the discriminatory act
- Qualified for the job or had a satisfactory work performance
- Subject to some type of discriminatory conduct; and
- Younger employers were not subject to such conduct
Your age discrimination lawyer will work as your legal advocate and gather direct, indirect, and contextual evidence on your behalf that proves that age discrimination did occur and help you obtain maximum compensation for your damages. Damages for age discrimination cases could include:
- Back pay and back wages
- Future lost earnings
- Job position reinstatement
- Pay differential from a promotion, raise, or bonus
- Benefits or pension benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Attorney fees and legal costs
Help for Victims of Age Discrimination
If you believe you have been a victim of age discrimination, please do not hesitate to contact Shegerian and Associates to learn more about what legal remedies may be available to you and how our lawyers for age discrimination can assist you. Ageism is often based on negative age-based stereotypes that older workers are slower, less motivated, take more time off, and produce less. We are firm believers that these individuals deserve to be valued and will do everything in our power to protect their rights. Talk with our age discrimination attorney today to get you started.
We have six convenient offices located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside, San Diego, and New York City, so an attorney for age discrimination is prepared to assist you no matter where you are.
In general, cases based on age discrimination may be hard to prove because ageism can often take different forms. Sometimes it can be overt, while other times it is not obvious. For example, jokes like calling someone an “old lady” or “boomer” can be evidence of age discrimination. Additionally, age discrimination can be more subtle like when someone is called “slow” or told to “get with the times.” Evidence of ageism can even be shown without specific reference to the plaintiff, like when a company is hiring or promoting only younger workers.
While age discrimination isn’t always obvious, it is still sadly very common. A survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that two-thirds of workers aged 45-74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. Unfortunately, age discrimination may often not be taken as seriously as other forms of discrimination, but is an issue that we all may inevitably face as we grow older.
At Shegerian & Associates, our age discrimination attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of older workers whose state and federal rights have been violated. Our results for our clients who faced ageism in the workplace are unparalleled.
In general, age discrimination occurs when an employer or potential employer treats an individual who is 40 years or older unfavorably due to their age. While it most commonly results in a layoff or termination, discrimination can take many forms.
The following acts could be indicative of age discrimination if it can be proven that they were related to the age of the employee:
- Job termination
- Forced to quit
- Reduction in salary
- Denied a promotion or raise
- Denied medical leave
- Forced to perform certain job duties
- Forced to transfer
- Refusal to hire
- Older employers being treated differently
- Ageist jokes, comments, or insults
Because older workers often have seniority and higher salaries, employers often may be incentivized to get rid of older workers and hire younger ones to protect their bottom lines. Employers usually may not outright admit to discriminating against an older workforce, But here are some signs to look for when determining whether ageism is occurring in your workplace:
- There are older workers with seniority being replaced with younger workers
- There is a “young culture” being directly or indirectly promoted at work
- Employers and co-workers make jokes about older workers or older individuals
- The workplace is hostile for older workers
- Older employees are being forced to retire or being offered unequal benefits so they quit
- There are sudden changes in how job performance reviews are done
- Younger employees are being given preferential treatment in pay, promotions, and working conditions
- You’re being offered an early retirement deal, also known as a golden handshake
The statute of limitations for discrimination claims in California is three years, specifically under FEHA or the Fair Employment and Housing Act. However, you have 300 days to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You are likewise limited to one year for retaliation claims and specific characteristics protected under California Labor Law.
A prima facie case of age discrimination refers to the bare minimum evidence required for an age discrimination lawsuit. In the case McCree v. State of California, to establish a prima facie case of employment discrimination, a plaintiff must establish that "(1) he was a member of a protected class, (2) he was qualified for the position he sought or was performing competently in the position he held, (3) he suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination, demotion, or denial of an available job, and (4) some other circumstance suggests discriminatory motive." For proving a disparate impact age discrimination case under FEHA, the first three elements remain the same, while the fourth requires the plaintiff being replaced by a significantly younger person.
In California, discrimination complaints and lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of the allegedly discriminatory act. If the employee has filed through the administrative process and the DFEH has issued a right to sue letter, then the employee has one year to file a lawsuit from the date of issuance.
If the employee is seeking to file a complaint for federal relief, then they must file within 300 days with either the DFEH or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
These deadlines are strict. If you think you may have an age discrimination lawsuit, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Help For Victims Of Age Discrimination
If you think you’ve been a victim of age discrimination, contact Shegerian & Associates today for a free case evaluation with our age discrimination lawyers. We’re here to help and would love to hear your story and let you know what legal remedies are available to you. And as always, there are no charges unless we win your case.