Age discrimination in the workplace occurs when an applicant or employee is treated less favorably because of their age. It typically happens to those considered too old and “over-qualified’ for hire or promotion. When these stereotypes interfere with a person’s ability to obtain or hold a job, it’s not only unfair – it’s against the law.
If you feel you have been discriminated against due to your age, there are several laws that protect you. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) are federal laws created to combat discrimination in the workplace. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) reinforces the federal law for equality in employment.
When your rights have been violated, a workplace discrimination attorney can help you seek justice and fair compensation. At Skilling O’Leary, we are dedicated to helping people who have been discriminated against and committed to seeking justice for those employees.
Today’s Workforce Challenges
It’s no secret that our present U.S. workforce is under duress. America’s recovery from the recession of 2007-2009 has been slow. Additionally, the economic environment has changed dramatically. Americans must not only compete with each other for various positions, but with an international workforce as well.
Our workforce spans three generations, with Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) making up almost 45% of all currently held management and professional positions. By 2025, the youngest generation, the Millennials, will account for three-quarters of employable people.
In an ideal world, our merits and abilities alone could guarantee us a cherished employment opportunity. Sadly, the misconceptions and biases of some employers often interferes with our ability to secure a job or be promoted.
How Would I Know I’m Being Discriminated Against?
Some instances of age discrimination are obvious, while others are subtle. Common forms of ageism in the workplace include:
- Difficulty securing a position – employers often try to gauge an applicant’s age based on the person’s resume, their work and education history in particular. This kind of discrimination can be difficult, but not impossible, to prove.
- Job elimination – this is another tactic unscrupulous employers use to validate firing older workers. In these types of cases, the employer must prove the decision to eliminate the position was non-discriminatory. If the company just changes the title of the position and hires a younger person for it, this may be grounds for an age discrimination lawsuit.
- Mandatory retirement age – this is a personnel policy some employers use to remove older employees from their positions, even if they would rather continue working for the company.
- Sudden incompetence – some workers may be pressured to retire. Other times, they may be demoted by receiving negative performance reviews, in an attempt to make the employee seem unable to perform essential job duties.
- Denying training and advancement opportunities – programs that improve an employees’ skill-set must be offered to all candidates according to their job function, not their individual age.
- Harassment – while an isolated offhand comment would not be considered harassment; constant jokes, demeaning comments and other offensive remarks and aggressive behaviors that turn the workplace into a hostile environment is considered unlawful.
- Job advertisements – employers are prohibited from listing age preference in a job notice, advertisement or listing.
The law forbids any aspect of discrimination in employment, including making adverse employment decisions based on a worker’s age.
It is illegal to discriminate based on a person’s age in various employment practices, including:
- Hiring and firing
- Transfers or promotion
- Employment screening
- Training and apprenticeship programs
- Use of company facilities
- Pay rate, retirement and disability leave
- Fringe benefits
- Other employment terms and conditions
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency responsible for enforcing these laws.
How We Can Help
If you feel you have been subject to age discrimination in the workplace, Skilling O’Leary may be able to help. We understand the nuances of workplace discrimination laws and how to counter excuses employers use to cover their unethical business practices. We can gather the facts and work diligently to prove your case to get the compensation you deserve.
Get a Free Case Evaluation Today
Facing age discrimination in the workplace can be emotionally disparaging and financially draining. We’d like to help you on your path to restoring equality in the workplace. Contact us today by calling (619) 500-4027 or (720) 330-9000. There’s no obligation to you.