It is a universal truth that the world of employment will not always yield favorable situations. There are unfortunate circumstances wherein older applicants are denied a job despite being qualified when companies are in search of potential employees that are relatively younger. In some cases, employees are even laid off due to their advancing age.
Although unfavorable employment situations are part of the reality of work, there are some scenarios wherein these unfavorable situations arise from unlawful reasons. One of these scenarios are examples of age discrimination. Instances of age discrimination are considered illegal under federal and state laws, and violators may be eligible for an age discrimination lawsuit.
What is an Age Discrimination Case?
Age discrimination takes place when an employee or job applicant aged 40 or older is treated less favorably because of his or her old age. This is a type of discrimination that is prohibited under both federal and California laws.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
In 1967, the U.S. Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to prohibit employers from discriminating against older workers. During that time, employers forcing retirement on employees that reached a certain age, regardless of skill and ability, was not uncommon. With the ADEA, employees were now protected from this scenario and other age-related discriminatory actions.
ADEA prevents the discrimination in employment of workers that are aged 40 or older and is applicable for employers with at least 20 workers. Moreover, this statute deems discriminatory termination illegal as well as discriminatory behavior towards other employment-related matters such as compensation, terms, conditions, and benefits of employment.
Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA)
In California, another age discrimination law that protects aged employees is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The FEHA also protects employees aged 40 or over from any discriminatory act in employment, from hiring to termination disputes.
Although similar to the ADEA, the FEHA covers a broader span and protects a number of discriminated classes such as race, sex, and religion. Furthermore, this legislation also applies to smaller employers with at least five employees under their wing.
How to Identify Age Discrimination
Although termination and being laid off due to age are one of the most common forms of age discrimination, there are other ways of which an employee may be discriminated. Being denied a job as an applicant or a promotion or work benefits due to age are also examples of age discrimination. These instances of age discrimination can be established by showing that an employee or job applicant’s age of being over was considered in denying him or her of an employment benefit. These denied employment benefits and other scenarios of discrimination due to age include but are not limited to the following:
- Forced to quit his or her job
- Forced to transfer departments
- Rejected promotions
- Salary Deduction
- Denied of equal pay
- Denied of reinstatement
- Denied of medical leave
- Denied a work environment free of harassment and discrimination
Examples of Age Discrimination
To better understand and identify age discrimination cases, below are some of its other common scenarios:
Anytime someone 40 or over is forced or coerced into retiring, it is automatically illegal and warrants an age discrimination case. However, certain exceptions that allow for mandatory retirement such as physicians aged 70 or older as well as executive employees aged 65 up.
Cheap Young Employees Over Higher Paid Older Employees
In most situations, older employees that have worked with a company for a long period have a higher salary compared to new and younger employees. To save money, employers may claim the older and higher paid employees are being “let go.”
Asking for One’s Age During Job Applications
Although it is not illegal for an employer to ask for an applicant’s age or date of birth, it is, however, illegal to use an application or pre-employment inquiry to reject an applicant because he or she is 40-years-old or older.
Jokes About Age
Although seemingly harmless, jokes and comments about older workers may be an indication that an employer does not take an age discrimination claim seriously. As a result, these side comments and jokes could alienate and discourage older employees and forego reporting age discrimination claims.
Disparate Age Discrimination Acts
Several working conditions, hiring practices, and policies may prove to be discriminatory to older employees even if they are not based purely on age. Employment practices that have an indirect or disparate impact on older workers may be deemed unfair and discriminatory.
For example, a company may have a policy that disallows employees to dye their hair bright pink because hair color is not a protected area for employment discrimination. However, a company policy that says employees cannot have gray hair may be discriminatory since older workers are more likely to have gray hair, and a company policy against gray hair may disproportionately affect these older workers.
Filing an Age Discrimination Lawsuit with Age Discrimination Attorneys
For victims to properly seek compensation for age discrimination, employing a proper age discrimination attorney as legal counsel and representation is the wisest decision. Having proper legal representation is necessary due to the fact that age discrimination cases require extensive knowledge of age discrimination and employment laws. Seek legal advice from expert age discrimination attorneys from Mesriani Law Group. These expert attorneys are well-versed in California age discrimination cases and will ensure that your claims do not end in vain.