Both federal and California law protect workers from discrimination based on their age if they are over 40. Age discrimination is not always obvious. If you suspect that you may have been a victim of age discrimination, you need to talk to a Los Angeles age discrimination lawyer as soon as possible. Following the right procedures and timeline is vital to presenting your case.
What is Age Discrimination?
Any time that someone over the age of 40 receives less favorable treatment than a younger worker due to their age, age discrimination has occurred. Usually, employees who suffer from age discrimination will see some type of negative experience related to their employment, including:
- Terminating an employee once they reach a certain age
- Declining to promote or train employees because of age
- Refusing to hire older employees
- Age-related harassment in the workplace
- Receiving less-favorable work assignments
- Moving an employee to a new location that is inconvenient or undesirable
- Decreasing raise or bonus opportunities due to age
Age discrimination may not always be deliberate. If an employee develops a policy that negatively affects older workers more so than others, then that could be considered age discrimination as well.
Federal and State Laws that Protect Older Workers
Federal law protects older workers through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under this law, employers who have over 20 employees cannot discriminate against older employees with regard to any terms or conditions of their employment.
California extends the federal law to apply to employers who have as few as five employees under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Who is Covered by California Law Regarding Age Discrimination?
While California law extends employee rights, it does have some limitations. For example, the FEHA only protects employees—it does not help those who are considered independent contractors. An employee for purposes of the FEHA is someone who works for the employer or someone whom the employer has agreed to hire. Employment offers do not need to be in writing, but that can certainly help your employment discrimination case.
The FEHA also extends explicitly to job applications as well. An applicant is someone who submits a written application for employment. However, protections do not apply to those who are not otherwise qualified for the position. Employers are permitted to legally decline to offer work to those who are not as skilled or experienced as other applicants.
Filing a Claim for Age Discrimination in California
Discrimination claims start with a complaint to an administrative agency. Employees cannot file age discrimination claims in court immediately. Workers can either file with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or they can file with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if they are claiming a violation of federal law.
Although you do not need an attorney for this process, your chances of winning your case increase substantially when you have an experienced lawyer on your side. Employment discrimination claims are complex and require that you follow precise guidelines and timelines. Call the Los Angeles age discrimination attorneys at JML Law to schedule a free case evaluation today: 818-610-8800.