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Age Discrimination at the Workplace: Your Legal Options

By Gregory Thyberg on June 15, 2017


An older man in the kitchenLosing a job can lead to a number of difficulties. That's especially true if you lose a job as a result of unjust circumstances. When this happens, a Sacramento workplace discrimination lawyer can help you hold your employer or your former co-workers accountable for their actions.

Workplace discrimination can take many forms. Below, we'd like to explore age discrimination at the workplace and what legal options are available to you.

Age Discrimination Defined

Age discrimination refers to any instances in which a person's age is used as a basis for hiring, treatment while on the job, or termination. There are both federal and state laws in place to protect employees from age discrimination as well as other kinds of poor treatment at the workplace as it relates to age.

Age discrimination may target young employees and elderly employees. Employers may attempt to take advantage of workers, or they may try to enact unfair practices with regard to responsibilities and job duties.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

In 1967, Congress passed the ADEA, which was a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers who are of advanced age. The law initially protected employees up until age 70, though the upper limit of the law was removed during the 1980s. The ADEA applies to any employers who have at least 20 employees.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

The FEHA is a California state law that is designed to protect workers who are 40 years old or older. This state statute goes further than the federal statute. The FEHA applies to any employers with at least 5 employees.

Example of Age Discrimination at the Workplace

Age discrimination at the workplace can take many different forms. Some examples of age discrimination include the following:

  • Posting a job listing specifically looking for employees in a certain age range
  • Hiring a younger job applicant over an older and more qualified job applicant simply because of age
  • Denying an employee a promotion because of advanced age
  • Terminating older workers simply based on age
  • Urging older workers to quit to make room for younger employees
  • Using age to target employees during layoffs and downsizing

Workplace Harassment and Age Discrimination

In addition to the above, some workplaces may foster a hostile attitude and overall environment when it comes to the age of certain employees. When employees are harassed because of their age and there are no repercussions for this kind of harassment, it's important that the co-workers and/or employers be held accountable.

Suing an Employer for Age Discrimination

Before a person can sue an employer for age discrimination, a formal charge must be filed with either the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing or with the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency must process your charge and issue a letter stating that, given the information provided and the nature of your claim, you have a right to sue.

How a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer Can Help

Workplace discrimination claims can be complicated. By working with an experienced work attorney, you can find out if your case has a solid basis to be pursued. A lawyer can offer insight on filing your charge with the proper agency, and what you can do to strengthen your legal case. This type of counsel and peace of mind can be very helpful as you deal with unjust treatment at work.

Learn More About Workplace Discrimination Lawsuits

For more information about your legal options at the workplace, we encourage you to contact an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer today. Our team will help you in your time of legal need, and ensure that your legal protections are respected.

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