What to Know

Age Discrimination in California

Age Discrimination. We represent employees in Los Angeles and everywhere else in California.

If you believe you are a victim of age discrimination at the workplace, call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your case.

We do not charge for consultations.

We represent clients in the state of California.

What qualifies as age discrimination?

In California, age discrimination involves unfavorable treatment of a job applicant or employee over 40 because of their older age. Preferring an older employee over a younger one does not constitute age discrimination in California.

Age discrimination in the workplace

Age discrimination can occur at almost any stage of employment, including:

Hiring

Promotions and demotions

Compensation and benefits

Discriminatory policies

Firing

It can also take place during the regular course of employment in the form of age-related harassment.

What are signs of age discrimination?

Identifying age discrimination can be difficult, but the following are some signs to watch out for:

You hear comments about your older age from management or coworkers

An employer is only hiring younger individuals without a valid reason

Your employer passes you over for a deserved promotion in favor of someone younger

You receive less challenging or lower-stakes work assignments

Your employer leaves you out or isolates you from meetings, decisions, or other work-related matters

Your employer begins to question you about when you will retire or pressures you to consider retirement

There is a pattern of your employer laying off older workers

Your employer claims they eliminated your job title and position and hires someone younger with a different title but the same responsibilities

Your performance reviews have become less favorable

Your employer holds you to a different standard than younger employees with similar positions

Examples of age discrimination

You might have worked with a company for 20 years. Yet lately, you noticed that you are not invited to meetings. Still, others might be getting better opportunities than you, and your company has a pattern of laying off older employees and hiring new ones. Your employer then tells you that your job has been eliminated due to budget cuts, but the employer retains all the other younger people in your department. This is a typical example of how age discrimination plays out, though there are many more.

Types of age discrimination in California

Employers can engage in age discrimination in many ways, and these are some common types of unlawful conduct:

Hiring discrimination

Harassment

Unfair policies

Preferential treatment of younger employees

Retaliation

Wrongful termination

Age discrimination laws

Both California and federal law prohibit age discrimination for employees aged 40 and older. These laws include California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Older Workers Benefit Protection Act

The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) amended the ADEA to make the following unlawful:

Discrimination based on age for benefit purposes`

Requiring older employees to waive anti-discrimination rights without following specific processes

Target older employees when conducting layoffs due to budget cuts

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1992 (ADEA)

The ADEA is the federal law that prohibits age discrimination for workers age 40 and older. The law prohibits discrimination in all stages of employment, as well as retaliation, harassment, and policies that unfavorably impact older employees.

Title 29 U.S.C. 621-634

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is codified at Title 29, Section 621 to 634 of the United States Code.

Layoffs and age discrimination

One of the most common forms of age discrimination happens during layoffs. Employers believe they can fire people and claim that terminations are due to budget cuts, not for an employee’s age or performance. However, this is a prime opportunity to include higher numbers of older workers under the guise of layoffs when the company seeks a younger workforce.

Age Discrimination under 40

Discrimination against younger workers is often referred to as reverse age discrimination, which is not addressed by federal law and generally not provided under California law.

How to get rid of older employees

This is what many companies wonder about. They look for ways to hide the fact that they want to save money by hiring younger employees with less experience who will work for lower pay. However, “getting rid of” older employees and replacing them with younger ones is unlawful age discrimination.

Protected Class Age 55

Federal and California state employment laws cover a protected class of employees over age 40, which includes employees over the age of 55 as well. 55 can be an age when employees find bigger targets on their backs for discrimination, especially since some professions - such as air traffic controllers or federal law enforcement officers - have mandatory retirement after 55. It is important for employees age 55 and older to know they have protections under the law.

Terminating employees over 50

There are certainly legitimate reasons for terminating employees who are any age, including over age 50. Perhaps the employee missed too much work, violated company policies, or experienced a significant dip in production. These are acceptable reasons for termination. However, making up a pretextual reason to fire someone (when the true reason is that they are over 50) is unlawful and an all-too-common practice by employers trying to mask age discrimination.

How to prove age discrimination in layoffs

Employees claiming age discrimination must provide sufficient evidence of the unlawful conduct in order to obtain the legal relief and compensation they deserve. This is no easy task in many cases. Employers will generally try to fight liability for discrimination, which only makes it that much more difficult for employees. It is important for employees to have an employment lawyer who knows how to prove age discrimination.

For a successful claim, you must prove:

You are a member of a protected class (over age 40)

Your employer took an adverse employment action due to your age

Any reasons given by your employer were pretextual

Age discrimination statute of limitations

If you are filing your claim under federal law, you will have 300 days to file your complaint (if you are in California or another state with its own discrimination laws). If you are filing under state law, you will have three years to file a complaint, as California recently extended its statute of limitations for employment discrimination claims.

For more information

To discuss your case, call us at 888-762-0297 and ask to speak with an attorney who handles age discrimination cases.

Your consultation will be confidential, informative, and free.

We take all cases on contingency and advance all costs - which we only are reimbursed if we successfully recover on your behalf.

We represent clients in Los Angeles and other cities in California.

Last updated on September 6, 2021.

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