How to Prove Age Discrimination in the Workplace

How to Prove Age Discrimination in the WorkplaceIt is unlawful for employers to discriminate against their employees in any way, shape, or form. Discrimination occurs when employers treat someone of a protected class differently than other coworkers. When it comes to business, employers cannot focus on things like race, sex, religion, color, country of origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, genetic information, and even age. Our attorneys can sue your employer if an illegal age discrimination has occurred, in order to get you the justice that you deserve.

Age discrimination in the workplace can shapeshift and take many forms. Some forms are discreet and difficult to see if one is not looking, while other are so blatantly obvious it’s almost painful to witness. Regardless of whichever discrimination you may have experienced, it is still up to you to gather enough evidence to prove to a court that is was more likely than not that your employer made employment-based decisions only on your age.
what are signs of age discrimination
We at the California Labor LAW Employment Attorneys Group help people who experience age discrimination in the workplace every single day. Our law firm is based in Los Angeles but we are active in the entire state of California. So whether you are in Los Angeles or outside Los Angeles, our attorneys can answer your questions and help you with a possible lawsuit. We can answer any questions you may have about your experience with age discrimination. Examples of such questions include:

  • Do I have a case?
  • Do I have an age discrimination case?
  • How do I know if I have an age discrimination case?

What Is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee differently or less favorably just because of their age. The Age Discrimination  Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 prohibits making employment decisions based on someone’s age if they are 40 years of age or older. As stated previously, age discrimination can occur discreetly or blatantly in many facets of the work environment. The law does not allow for employers to discriminate against their older workers in aspects of employment, continued employment, terminating, layoff, training, job assignments, benefits, and any other conditions that are written in the employee handbook. So, for example, if you are the most qualified worker in your position and there is a promotion opportunity for you, your employer cannot overlook you and hire someone younger for the job simply because you are an older worker. This is discrimination and may give you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer for age discrimination.

An older worker cannot be harassed due to their age. This includes offhand remarks, pictures, or jokes (with malicious intent or not) that they may find offensive. The workplace needs to be a safe place for everyone – not creating or maintaining such a place can give employees the right to sue their employers.

How Do I Prove I Was a Victim of Age Discrimination?

In order for the courts to decide that your age was the reason for your employee’s actions, and not another factor which gives them the legal right to terminate your employment. There are a few ways that you can prove that your employer discriminated against you simply because of your age.

  • Direct Evidence: While some employers may not be aloof enough to make direct comments about your age it is always a good idea to take note of any comments they’ve made. If employers ask when you plan on retiring, say you should make room for younger employees, or say that you were born when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth (and other such comments), you may have direct evidence of age discrimination. Write them down, note the date, time, and any witnesses.
  • Hiring or Promotion: If you notice that people who do not work as hard or as efficient as you are getting promotions left and right, and they all look young, your employer may be discriminating against you because of your age. Your employer may be trying to protect a “modern” or “hip” image, which this kind of favoritism is unlawful. Ask your employer for your performance evaluation – if everything on that document is stellar, it may help prove that your employer acted unlawfully.
  • Discipline: If you have been disciplined wrongfully, your employer may be discriminating against you. If these disciplines are for things that younger employees do without getting disciplined, as you have, then you may have experienced discrimination and have the grounds to file a suit against your employer.

How Do I File a Charge Against My Employer for Age Discrimination?

In order for you to successfully press a charge against your employer for age discrimination, you must first file that charge with a government agency. There are two agencies available to you: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – which is a federal employment government agency – or the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) – which is the agency at the state level. Before you file a suit, it is best to converse your protections with a lawyer.

When you file a charge with either employment agency – either the EEOC or the DFEH – an identical copy is created and sent to the other agency. This is called dual filing and helps protect your rights under both federal and state laws, and helps avoid duplicate charges.

The best way to file a charge with these agencies is to send them the proper documentation either in person or through the mail. Each office has its own procedures on how to deal with walk-ins, so it’s a good idea to check in with their policies before you go in. Bring any important documentation that will help prove your charge (like the notes you jotted down in your journal after you experienced discrimination), and your attorney to help guide you through the complexities of employment law.

If you mail your charge, make sure that in the envelope is 1) your name, address, and telephone number; 2) name, address, and telephone number of employer; 3) the kind of discrimination you experienced along with a brief explanation of the events that occurred to make you believe you experienced age discrimination; 4) when the events took place; 5) number of employees; 6) your signature – the EEOC cannot legally pursue your claim if you have not signed off on it.

Under federal law, you have 180 days to file the charge; under state law, that deadline is extended to 300 days.

You may then request a “right-to-sue” letter which gives you 90 days to file a lawsuit against your employer.

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