June 29, 2019 Category: Age Discrimination
In California, employers are prevented from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on age. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer with five or more employees may not discriminate against a person over 40 based on their age. You can also seek protection through federal law under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA offers you protection similar to the California law.
Age-Based Discrimination Can Take Many Forms
What does age discrimination look like? It can manifest in many different ways. Examples might include: an employer:
- Refusing to hire older workers despite their being as equally qualified for the job as other candidates
- Refusing to promote employees based on their age
- Firing an employee once they reach a certain age, or
- Engaging in frequent and severe age-related harassment.
Simply put, if you suffer adverse employment consequences because of your age, you may have experienced unlawful age discrimination.
How Can I Prove Age-Based Employment Discrimination?
There are two requirements for proving age-based workplace discrimination. First, you have to be at least 40 years old. Second, you have to be able to show that you were qualified for the job but suffered some kind of discrimination. It will help to gather evidence of the alleged discrimination.
Corroborating Statements. Get statements from current or former employees that can help show that the employer had a history of issues with older employees.
Keep a Journal. Keep a log of negative things your supervisor has said to you, or others, about your age. Things such as frequent jokes or comments about age, such as “you sure are getting up there, why don’t you retire already” could be useful to help prove your claim. You may have emails from your boss that refer to your age in a negative way, print them out and save them.
Gather Employer Documents. Gather up all your performance reviews and any complaints that may have been filed against you on the job; if you have minimal negative feedback this will help bolster your case.
These types of legal actions may need different forms of evidence to prove your case and are typically not won by a single “smoking gun.”
Employees Are Up Against a Strict Deadline to File
You don’t have the luxury of time if you want to file a claim for relief for age discrimination.
State Discrimination Claims
In California, you must file a complaint against your employer with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) no later than one year from the date of the alleged discriminatory act.
After you have gone through the administrative process, the DFEH will issue you a right-to-sue letter. You will then have one year to file a lawsuit in civil court against your employer.
Federal Discrimination Claims
There are different timelines if you are seeking federal relief. To start that process, you either file a complaint with DFEH, as explained above, or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory act. Once you receive a right to sue letter from either agency, you then have 90 days to file a lawsuit in court based on federal claims.
It is essential that you speak to an experienced California discrimination attorney to evaluate the merits of your case.