Age Discrimination Statute of Limitations in California
| Read Time: 4 minutes | Discrimination

Encountering discrimination at work, especially due to age, can be tough. You might be a seasoned professional nearing retirement, or you might be starting a new career later in life. No matter what stage you are in, if you are 40 or older, illegal discrimination could have affected you. 

If you have suffered from age discrimination in the workplace, you may have the right to seek compensation. However, California’s age discrimination statute of limitations limits the amount of time you have to pursue a claim. 

In this article, we will help you understand the statute of limitations, procedures for filing a lawsuit, and the need to act promptly to address age discrimination in the workplace. 

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

The federal and state statute of limitations for age discrimination claims is crucial. These laws set the deadlines for when you can bring your case to court. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to seek legal recourse for the discrimination you’ve endured. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that there are complex procedures involved when filing a claim within the statute of limitations. 

Timeline and Process for Claims Brought Under State Law

You should act promptly if you believe you’ve experienced age discrimination at work. In California, if you intend to bring a claim under state law, you normally have two years from the discriminatory action to initiate an age discrimination claim against an employer. However, there’s a one-year extension to the window for filing claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This means, in total, you have three years to bring a claim against an employer if you’ve been treated unfairly because of your age. While three years may seem like a long time, it is nonetheless a limited window to pursue legal recourse, and you should not delay taking action. 

FEHA applies to public and private employers. It also applies to labor organizations and employment agencies. Additionally, any employer with five or more employees is subject to FEHA terms. 

Age discrimination claims involving employment and brought under state law can be made through California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD). The CRD is a state-regulated department that you can use to help you settle your complaint. Once you have worked through the process of filing a claim, the department will then conduct an investigation. After its investigation, the CRD will decide whether to take action on your claim or issue you a right-to-sue letter based on whether the laws cover your allegations.

If you are issued this letter by CRD, you will then have one year from the date of issuance to bring suit against the employer. If you prefer not to go through the investigation process with the CRD, you do have the option to obtain an immediate right-to-sue notice. However, it is important to note while the investigation process is not mandatory, it is mandatory that you obtain a right-to-sue notice from CRD before filing suit. 

Timeline and Process for Claims Brought Under Federal Law

To file an age discrimination lawsuit under federal law, you must first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This charge normally must be filed within 180 days from the date the discriminatory action took place. However, because an extension applies to states that enforce laws against employment discrimination, the filing deadline is extended to 300 days. Because this deadline is less than a year from the discriminatory action, it is important to understand early on whether you will be filing under federal law or state law and act promptly.

Once the EEOC has reviewed your claim and closed its investigation, it will decide whether to take action on your claim or issue a notice of right to sue. Similar to the CRD, if you prefer not to go through the investigation process, you have the option to request an immediate notice of right to sue from the EEOC. Once you have obtained a notice of right to sue, you may then file suit against the employer but must do so within 90 days. 

Understanding these timelines and requirements might be tough on your own, especially without a legal background. That’s where an age discrimination lawyer can step in to help.

Consulting with an Attorney 

An attorney can evaluate your situation, advise you on the best course of action, and help ensure you meet all deadlines, including the age discrimination statute of limitations. An experienced attorney understands the nuances of these limitations and works to make sure all necessary steps are taken within the given timeframe. For example, if there are delays in obtaining crucial documents or witnesses, the attorney can strategize other options or ways to expedite the process. This proactive approach will help to ensure that your case progresses smoothly within the statutory timeframe. 

By entrusting your case to a knowledgeable attorney, you reduce the risk of missing deadlines. Concurrently, you also increase your chance of a successful verdict for your age discrimination case.

Take Action Against Workplace Discrimination 

Experiencing discrimination in the workplace can be upsetting and unfair. With King & Siegel LLP, you have dedicated advocates who are ready to fight for justice on your behalf.

​​Sadly, age-based discrimination accounted for 15% of the federal discrimination charges in 2022. While we can’t change that number, we can help you fight back and deter employers from discriminatory action. We have recovered seven-figure settlements for clients in many cases and aim to help you recover the maximum amount for the discrimination you’ve suffered. We have multiple client success stories, specifically in the age discrimination sector, that attest to the positive experience of working with our team.  

If you’ve experienced age discrimination in the workplace, don’t wait to take action. Contact King & Siegel LLP for skilled guidance and representation. With our extensive experience and dedication to protecting clients’ rights, you can trust that your case will be handled with care and expertise. 

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Julian Burns King graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and founded King & Siegel in 2018. As head of the Firm’s discrimination and harassment practice areas, she champions the rights of working parents and victims of workplace discrimination and harassment. She has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers annually since 2018 and has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of her clients.

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