Do you ever feel like your employer avoids giving you assignments, refuses to promote you or offers you unfair benefits — among other things — because of how old you are? If so, you may be entitled to file an age discrimination claim against the responsible parties. In California and elsewhere, your age is not a reason for an employer to discriminate against you.
In fact, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee or potential employee because of his or her age. Even so, how do you know if the issue comes down to discrimination? It is not always easy to tell.
Age discrimination is…
There is really only one way to define age discrimination in the workplace: it is treating someone in an unfavorable way because he or she is on the older side. Those who claim to experience workplace age discrimination often tend to be in their 40s or older. As this is the case, the EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination Employment Act passed by Congress, which protects people in that age group.
Age discrimination comes in various forms. A few examples include:
- Job refusal
- Early termination
- Disparity in pay
- Promotion refusal
- Unfair benefits
- Lack of growth opportunities
These are commonly seen, but there are others. The problem is identifying if these things happened due to age discrimination or something else.
Not sure? Ask
If you feel you’ve been the victim of age discrimination but are not entirely sure, it is okay to have your case reviewed. With legal assistance, it is possible to discern if an employer’s actions were uncalled for and illegal — making legal action a worthwhile pursuit if you have been adversely affected.
When it comes to fighting age discrimination cases, there are two ways to go about it. They are often settled through out-of-court negotiations, although, some do end up going to trial. Most employers do try to settle in order to keep costs low and avoid too much negative press.
Regardless of how your case is ultimately resolved, if successful in your fight, you may receive damages for both the economic and non-economic losses you experienced because of the age discrimination such as lost wages, legal fees and emotional suffering among others. How much you receive will depend on the specifics of your case.
Speak with an employment law attorney if you think you are the victim of illegal age discrimination.