Age Discrimination in the Workplace
As an older person, you’ve been in the workforce a long time, and you’ve probably seen how cutthroat some offices can be. As you’ve worked through your life, you may have noticed that your coworkers and managers may have started to treat you differently in your old age.
Adverse treatment of an employee due to their older age is defined by U.S. employment law as age discrimination. Employers are not allowed to hire, fire, demote or promote employees based on their age.
Sadly, discrimination in the workplace is fairly common, as the EEOC found that in 2019, over 70,000 workplace discrimination lawsuits were filed on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, and disability. Many workforces assume their employees’ ignorance of their rights and assume that their mistreated employees will not seek legal action, but the first step in ensuring a fair workplace is educating yourself on the subject of your rights as an older employee.
If you have experienced this kind of discrimination, then you can contact age discrimination lawyers Newport Beach. It can be difficult to tell when your employer’s actions were motivated by discrimination, so you and your attorney will need to examine the situation carefully before pursuing a case.
Doctrine and Organizations That Protect You
As an employee over the age of 40, there are multiple regulations and organizations that protect your rights.
The AARP is a huge interest group that focuses on the wellbeing of those older than 50. They’ve conducted numerous studies on ageism, and they estimate that 3 in 5 older workers have experienced a discriminatory workplace. They have documented numerous cases where older employees fought back against discrimination.
The EEOC also prohibits ageism under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which forbids employers to discriminate against employees who are age 40 or older. This includes hiring, firing, harassment, and general favoritism of a younger employee compared to an older one.
The ADEA forbids workplaces from:
- Mentioning a preferred age on job postings and recruiting materials
- Setting age limits for work training and development programs
- Enforcing mandatory retirement at a certain age (except for a few specific professions)
- Retaliating against an employee who files age discrimination charges with a Newport Beach workplace lawyer or helps said investigation
Do I Need a Lawyer for Age Discrimination in Newport Beach?
If you are beginning to suspect you are the victim of ageism in the workplace, you can start looking for signs and age bias and documenting them. Ageism can be overt, like someone telling you to retire to make room for “new blood,” but it can also be more subtle, like exclusion from company retreats. As technology rapidly advances, ageism is becoming more and more common due to the stereotype that old people are not good with technology.
Common age-related aggressions are listed below:
- Jokes or disparaging comments about your age, retirement plan, slow typing speed, or slow pace
- Pressure to retire
- Exclusion from company activities or project meetings
- Exclusion from difficult meetings, or rather, receiving an unfair share of tedious work
- Losing a promotion to a younger employee if that younger employee has less experience
- Being let go on the basis that the company needs “new blood”
Make sure to document these comments, actions, and emails in a journal to present to your age discrimination attorneys for the workplace, who will then start building your legal case. Having written documentation of these acts of discrimination, along with employee names and dates, will help the validity of your case.
Mandatory retirement, otherwise known as forced retirement, is generally illegal, as it’s protected by the ADEA. Just because you’re older than the average worker at your company, it doesn’t mean that you are any less efficient, sharp-witted, or hard-working than your younger colleagues.
Some professions do have a legal mandatory retirement age, and they are typically careers associated with danger or jobs that demand a high level of physical and mental skill. In these situations, a mandatory retirement age is put in place to protect the safety of others.
Professions that may regulate employment based on the employee’s age are:
- Pilots – the mandatory retirement age for an airline pilot is 65.
- Air traffic controllers – the mandatory retirement age for an air traffic controller is 56, with exceptions up to age 61.
- Federal law enforcement officers, national park rangers, and firefighters – workers that must perform demanding physical labor in order to protect lives like those above must retire at 57, or later if less than 20 years of service.
For medical doctors, the American Medical Association (AMA) has started to develop guidelines for age-based screening of older physicians. You can talk to your labor attorney to see what the latest developments are in the medical world for assessments regarding competence.
An age discrimination lawsuit should typically be started right away to avoid surpassing any statutes of limitations that may be in place. First, you should submit your case to the EEOC, who will then investigate your complaint by interviewing witnesses and reviewing other evidence.
Once you have the go-ahead for a lawsuit, then you can start working with your age discrimination attorney to get compensation for your mistreatment. Damages that are typically awarded in an ageism lawsuit are:
- Lost back pay and future pay
- Lost benefits
- Emotional distress damages
- Punitive damages
- Attorneys’ fees
Before you move forward with hiring an attorney, you may want to bring this issue up to your supervisor or an HR representative at your company. It’s possible that your coworkers did not understand the damage they were incurring, but it’s also possible that they don’t believe that an older employee is as valuable as a younger employee.
If you feel the need to hire a Newport Beach labor attorney for employees, then you can reach out to Accident Lawyers Firm, who have an abundance of experience in dealing with discrimination in the workplace. Don’t let yourself be mistreated; contact authorities to ensure that you, or any worker in the future, will be treated fairly.