If your company has fired or demoted you due to your age, an age discrimination lawyer can help. Most forms of age discrimination are illegal under both California law and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Older people frequently contribute more experience, knowledge and competency to the workplace. But some employers use age discrimination practices against older job seekers and employees. Driven by mistaken ideas that older employees have greater medical expenses or may not remain in the company for the long term, they sometimes take discriminatory and illegal decisions that unfairly prejudice older workers.
At The Rubin Law Corporation, our Los Angeles discrimination attorneys know discrimination laws. We fight aggressively to preserve your rights under it. We can serve you in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and the entire Southern California region.
What Is Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination is any action where an employer uses your physical age or years of experience against you. This can happen either while applying for a job, or while working in a job. In most cases this is illegal, although there are some limited exceptions, as we’ll outline in a moment.
Because it can be hard to prove directly, courts often look to circumstantial evidence to find age discrimination by looking at all the facts involved and comparing what happened to you with what happened to younger workers.
Often employers blame non-age-related factors such as corporate downsizing, reductions in the workforce or reorganization for the illegal actions. However, you may recognize age discrimination when your employer takes adverse employment action because of your age while similarly situated, but younger, employees were treated differently and more favorably. Some cases include:
- Wrongful termination
- Lack of promotion
- Negative performance reviews
The above outcomes are especially suspicious if your employer has recently made comments about your age.
If you and any co-workers who were similarly treated are all over 40 years old, then you may have reason to file a discrimination case. Contact The Rubin Law Corporation for a free legal consultation to see if you have a case.
What Counts as Age Discrimination?
In California, if you’re at least 40 years old and work in a place with at least 20 employees, the law protects you against workplace discrimination due to your age.
However, not everyone is eligible under ADEA or state anti-discrimination laws. Smaller employers may still discriminate against you. If you work in a “high policy-making position” and get a yearly pension of $44,000 or more, you’re also exempt from age discrimination law. In addition, if you work in a job that requires youth (for example, as a model or actor), ADEA and state law don’t apply. Some contracted workers, including tenured university professors, police officers, and fire-fighters, may have clauses in their contracts that allow age-based discrimination.
By the way: it doesn’t count if your company asks you to voluntarily retire. But if you do, you’ll probably have to sign a waiver promising you won’t sue for age discrimination. You don’t have to voluntarily retire. But if you do, your employee will probably offer you better benefits than if you waited until your normal retirement age.
Can a Business Refuse to Hire Me Because of My Age?
Most businesses can’t legally refuse to hire you because you’re older, except for the exceptions listed above. It’s not illegal for a prospective employer to ask you your age or date of birth during a job interview. It’s also not illegal for them to require you to reveal it on an application. Nor is it illegal for them to tell you you’re “overqualified” for a position, especially if you are. However, if you are qualified for the job, an employer can’t refuse to hire you specifically because they fear you’ll soon retire or leave for another job elsewhere.
IIf you suspect a prospective employer has refused to hire you due to your age, discuss the possibility with an age discrimination lawyer. You may have a case.
What Can I Do About Age Discrimination?
Federal and state laws protect workers from employment discrimination based on age. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects people over age 40 from discriminatory hiring practices and employment decisions made by employers based on age discrimination.
Our age discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles know the law, and we can help you understand how it applies to you. For example, we have represented an executive who was accused of performance problems to justify discharging her without a retirement package. Through our discrimination lawyers’ severance negotiations, she was able to obtain a generous retirement package and good references.
How Can I Prove Age Discrimination?
Your challenge with a discrimination suit is to prove that your age or years of experience were a factor in your termination or in being denied a job. This may not be possible unless you have documented statements, or witness testimony, where the employer directly said so. The same goes for statements that imply they fired you or refused to hire you due to your age. If they made discriminatory comments just prior to your job termination, make sure your age discrimination lawyer knows. That may help your case.
You’ll have a difficult case if only younger people suffered at the same time as you. It’s easier to prove if older coworkers also suffered, especially if all the employees who suffered were over 40. This is especially true if the business retained or hired less-experienced, younger workers. Our age discrimination lawyers can also look for a pattern of individual terminations or refusals to hire based on age at the business.
In a mass layoff, it’s possible the real motivation was to get rid of the highest-paid, most experienced employees. Those tend to be older people. The employer did it so they could pay new hires less money. However, the effect was the same: they discriminated against older workers.
Contact a Los Angeles Age Discrimination Lawyer Today
At The Rubin Law Corporation, our experienced Los Angeles employment lawyers are knowledgeable about employment age discrimination and retirement law. We can help you recover:
- Past and future lost wages and benefits,
- Compensation for emotional distress,
- Attorney fees, and even
- Punitive damages.
If you are the victim of workplace age discrimination, we urge you to call us today at 310-956-4065 to speak to our team of experienced discrimination attorneys about your rights.