Advocating For The Rights Of Southern California Employees Since 2007

Did You Experience Age Discrimination In The Workplace?

In the past two decades, an ever-changing employment market and an unstable economy have forced many older workers to change jobs or even careers. While workers in their 50s and above tend to have considerable experience and valuable skills, they too often experience discriminatory practices that make it harder to get hired and to keep the job they have.

Thankfully, workplace age discrimination is illegal under both federal and California law, and workers who have faced discrimination have legal recourse. If you believe you received unequal treatment in the job market or workplace due to your age, our attorneys at Moon Law Group, PC, are here to help you seek justice and a financial remedy. Our lawyers have been fighting for the rights of employees in California since 2007, and we have earned a reputation for success both in and out of the courtroom.

An Overview Of Age Discrimination Laws

The federal law prohibiting this practice is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, or ADEA. California bans age discrimination in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA.

Both statutes protect workers who are age 40 and older from age discrimination, which is age-based unequal treatment in decisions or actions related to:

  • Hiring, firing and layoffs
  • Promotion and demotion
  • Job assignments
  • Compensation (pay) and benefits
  • Training
  • Harassment

The federal ADEA applies to businesses/workplaces with at least 20 employees, whereas California’s FEHA applies to workplaces with 5 or more employees.

Common Signs Of Age Discrimination At Work

Age discrimination in the workplace is an unfortunate reality that older workers face. It occurs when an employee or job applicant 40 years of age or older is mistreated solely due to their age. Even though federal and state laws prohibit this type of discrimination, it continues to be a persistent problem.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination claims have increased, making up about 20% of all discrimination charges filed. Here are some of the most common signs that may mean you’re a target at work:

  • Failure to hire or promote: This occurs when an older, qualified candidate is passed over for a job or promotion in favor of a younger, less experienced individual. Employers may claim the younger candidate is “more energetic” or “better fits the company culture.”
  • Unequal treatment: Older workers may be assigned less desirable tasks, given fewer opportunities for training or development, or excluded from social activities compared to their younger co-workers. This can be a sign of unequal treatment that may create a hostile work environment.
  • Negative age-based comments: Derogatory remarks about an employee’s age, such as calling them “over the hill” or “too old to keep up,” are a telltale sign of age discrimination.
  • Sudden termination or layoff: If an older, experienced employee is let go during a reduction in force while younger workers in similar roles are retained, it could indicate age discrimination, especially if the reasons given are vague or questionable.
  • Changing job requirements: Employers may suddenly introduce new job requirements, such as technological proficiency or physical abilities, that disproportionately impact older workers and are not truly necessary for the role.
  • Pressuring retirement: Some employers try to push older workers into early retirement by reducing their hours, benefits or other perks, making it less appealing for them to continue working.
  • Exclusion from training or development opportunities: Some workplaces may deny older workers access to training programs or opportunities for professional development. This can limit their ability to keep up with industry changes and maintain their skills.

You have the right to work in an environment free from age-based discrimination. If you believe you are experiencing age discrimination from the above telltale signs, it’s important to document everything and seek legal counsel. An attorney’s legal intervention can help you understand your rights and options for filing a formal complaint or lawsuit.

Seemingly Neutral Policies Can Sometimes Be Discriminatory.

When older workers are intentionally treated unfairly based on their age, it is known as disparate treatment, and it is illegal. But even if a company has a policy or practice which is not based on age, it may be illegal if it disproportionately affects older workers as a group. This is what’s called disparate impact discrimination.

Consider the following example: A company decides to lay off most of its workers who command the highest salaries. They justify the move as simply a cost-cutting measure. But in many cases, the highest-paid employees are those who are older and have been with the company a long time. This could be challenged as disparate impact discrimination because an entire group of older employees is disproportionately affected.

Let Us Help You Build Your Case.

Proving age discrimination can be tricky because many employers will cite other justifications for their actions (such as the example above). In any discrimination claim, the details are critical, and documentation can win or lose a case. When you hire our firm, our skilled attorneys will work with you to gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate patterns and practices of discriminatory behavior, and we will fight for the resolution that best meets your needs and goals.

Contact Us And Get Started For Free.

Based in Los Angeles, Moon Law Group, PC, serves clients throughout California. To take advantage of a free initial consultation about your legal matter, you can contact us online or call 213-320-0519.