Glendale Age Discrimination Lawyer
When employees are treated differently in the workplace based on their age, that unfair treatment is a form of age discrimination. Age discrimination is the illegal act of discriminating against employees throughout the hiring, onboarding, or termination process based on the employee’s age. There are several federal legislations that prohibit employers from blatantly discriminating against employees that are over the age of forty years old. Still, many employers discover ways to practice forms of age discrimination throughout the employment process.
What Are Signs of Age Discrimination?
Some examples of age discrimination include:
- Hiring only younger employees
- Constantly turning older employees down for promotions
- Isolating older employees or leaving older employees out of particular decisions
- Pressuring older employees to retire
- Laying older employees off
- Unfairly disciplining older employees
- Eliminating the position of an older employee or changing the job title
- Making offensive jokes or remarks related to an employee’s age
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
There are several federal forms of legislation that have been integral in protecting older employees in the American workforce, such as the Age Discrimination Act. One of these Acts was The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). Enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the ADEA was passed with the intention of protecting applicants and employees over the age of 40 years old from discrimination during the various phases of employment. From hiring, promotion, compensation, or termination, employers are prohibited from practicing any discriminatory actions against older employees.
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
The ADEA is not the only form of federal legislation that prohibits ADEA age discrimination. Another form of legislation that helps protect older citizens is The Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Similar to the ADEA, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits other programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against applicants based on age. This form of legislation prohibits other institutions like universities from discriminating against applicants based on age. It does not, however, cover employment discrimination; matters related to employment discrimination fall under the EEOC.
EEOC Age Discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency whose responsibility is to enforce the civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. Because age discrimination is a form of workplace discrimination, the agency is adamant about defining what qualifies as age discrimination. EEOC age discrimination is classified as any unfavorable treatment of an applicant or employee based on their age. Even if the person who committed the act of discrimination against the victim is over the age of 40, the discrimination can still be classified as age discrimination.
Age Discrimination Examples
Based on the age discrimination laws, it would seem that what is age discrimination is easy to spot in the workplace. However, that can be farther from the truth. Although older employees are putting off retirement and remaining in the workforce for longer periods of time, there are still biases and stereotypes against older employees that employers hold. These biases often appear through the employers’ actions. Here are some examples of discrimination based on age.
Types of Age Discrimination
Discrimination based on age can involve any aspect of employment including:
- Job training
- Job assignment
- Being turned down for a promotion
- Receiving negative evaluations despite good performance
- Name calling, slurs, insults about one’s age
Age Discrimination in Hiring
There are many ways that employers can discriminate against older applicants during the hiring process, including:
- Having a disproportionate amount of younger hires
- Using specific words in a job description that discourage older applicants from applying
- Asking questions about an applicant’s birth date or graduation date
- Being overlooked for a younger applicant that is less qualified
Age discrimination in the workplace
Another form that age discrimination can take place in is during employment. The discriminatory actions of employers can cause a divide at the workplace between older employees and other coworkers. Some examples of age discrimination in the workplace include:
- An employer offers a better job opportunity or project to a younger employee who is less qualified
- Employers are often punishing older employees unfairly for disciplinary reasons.
- Employers assume that older employees have a harder time learning and understanding technology
- Employers are consistently excluding older employees from social events or activities outside of the workplace
Age Discrimination During the Termination Process
Like other employers, California employers are prohibited from targeting older employees for layoffs. Yet, that is one of the most common signs of age discrimination. When employers have to reduce their workforce, older employees are often the employees that are disproportionately targeted. Some examples of age discrimination during the termination process include:
- Disproportionately laying off older employees
- Changing the job title of an older employee’s position and replacing the older employee with a younger hire
- Terminating an older employee for an insignificant reason
- Terminating an older employee after requesting that the older employee train a younger coworker
Another example is being included in a group layoff of employees all of whom are over the age of 40 due to “downsizing”. Another example is forcing an older supervisor to retire before the age of 65 when the individual has shown exemplary work and wishes or needs to continue working.
Examples of Age Discrimination Cases
Although the media does not shed light on all age discrimination cases, there have been several age discrimination cases that have been filed in all types of occupations. One example of a recent age discrimination case took place in 2019 with an award winning sports journalist by the name of TJ Simers. Simers worked for the Los Angeles Times and filed an age discrimination claim against the company in 2013 once his column was reduced from three times a week to twice a year. Eventually, his column was eliminated altogether.
Simers also stated that his columns were criticized in a manner that was never scrutinized before. In 2015, he was awarded a $7.1 million settlement, but both sides made the decision to settle. Simers felt that his claim was worth more, and in 2019 he discovered that his hunch was right. In 2019, Simers was awarded a $15.4 million settlement for personal and emotional suffering.
Von Kaenel v. Armstrong Teasdale LLP
Not all age discrimination cases are ruled in the plaintiff’s favor. One age discrimination case that also took place in 2019 is the case between Von Kaenel and his former employer Armstrong Teasdale LLP. Kaenel filed an age discrimination claim against the law firm after he was forced to retire in accordance with the law firm’s terms. The law firm established a mandatory retirement policy for equity partners who reached 70 years of age.
Kaenel filed his claim against the company alleging that the mandatory retirement policy was a violation of federal age discrimination law. However, the court ruled in favor of Armstrong Teasdale LLP, citing that Kaenel was a partner and not an employee of the firm. Because Kaenel was a partner, the retirement policy did not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the claim was dismissed.
How to Prove Age Discrimination Cases
The subtle nature of age discrimination makes it difficult for older employees to prove. In addition to being more difficult to prove, older employees may fear retaliation against their employers should they decide to pursue legal action. For older employees who feel that they have been the targets of age discrimination, the best decision to make is seeking the help of an age discrimination attorney when looking at how to prove age discrimination cases.
Age discrimination attorneys have the expertise and quality resources to provide the crucial evidence for a successful age discrimination claim. There are several factors of an age discrimination claim that an age discrimination lawyer can help prove.
Elements of an Age Discrimination Claim
For an age discrimination claim to stand a chance in court, the following factors must be met:
- The plaintiff must be a member of a protected class of people. In age
discrimination claims, the protected class of people consists of employees between the ages of 40 and 70
- The plaintiff endured an unfavorable or hostile employment action. This action could range from constantly being overlooked for promotions in favor of younger employees to suffering from inappropriate age-related jokes or insults
- The plaintiff was qualified for the opportunity and was capable of meeting the employer’s expectations
- Younger employees with the same level of experience or less were treated more favorably than the plaintiff
Two Ways That Age Discrimination Can Be Proven
To assist with proving that their clients were victims of age discrimination, age discrimination lawyers will prove that age discrimination occurred through two methods. The first way that age discrimination lawyers can hold employers liable for age discrimination is by proving that their client suffered disparate treatment under employment.
Disparate treatment would be considered unfair or different treatment of an employee based on an employee’s age. The second way is to prove that the employer’s actions caused the older employee to experience a disparate impact. A disparate impact at the workplace happens when particular practices or policies that are supposed to be neutral create an unequal impact against a protected group of people.
Protecting Clients in the Workplace
Age discrimination in the workplace is unlawful under both federal and California law. The federal law, called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), outlaws discrimination against employees over the age of 40 in all areas of employment from hiring to firing. The California law, called the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), also prohibits employment discrimination based on age.
If you believe that you have suffered age discrimination in California by an employer, you may have grounds for a legal claim. At Berberian Ain, LLP, our age discrimination lawyers can protect you from retaliation or harassment while we seek maximum compensation for your losses and damages.
Making a Los Angeles Age Discrimination Claim
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is empowered to enforce the ADEA. Similarly, in California, the FEHA is enforced by the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. These laws also protect employees from retaliation by employers for initiating an investigation, legal procedure, or litigation claiming the existence of age discrimination. Age discrimination claims may result in compensation for damages such as lost pay or bonuses, emotional distress, and more.
Hire an Age Discrimination Attorney at Berberian Ain, LLP
In order to prevail in making your claim, it is best to retain the services of an attorney who is adept in these matters. Our firm has extensive experience in representing clients in all types of industries, including local businesses to international corporations, and state and federal offices.
We’re Here to Help. Contact Us Today!
Your case may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but there are others who have been in similar situations and found a way forward. Our team can help you make the next steps. Contact Berberian Ain LLP today to schedule a free initial consultation with our lawyers. You can also call our office at 818-808-0048.