Los Angeles Age Discrimination Attorneys
Your Loyalty Should be Rewarded, Not Punished
Studies show that older workers are integral to successful companies. They have a wealth of knowledge in their field and have gained insights that cannot be taught in high school or college. They often have served their employers for years, even decades, and often intend to stay until retirement.
Being discriminated against because of your age can be devastating. It can be demeaning to be pushed aside for younger co-workers, to be referred to using derogatory terms, to have your loyalty rewarded with termination.
Age discrimination is becoming increasingly common. At the same time, economic uncertainty is growing, and fewer and fewer workers are financially ready for retirement. Many wrongfully terminated older workers struggle to find replacement jobs as their would-be employers have the same discriminatory attitudes as the employer that fired them. In addition, many corporate employers resent “having” to pay for older workers’ benefits, which can be more expensive, or try to avoid paying bonuses based on length of service or paying into retirement plans.
Sometimes younger workers can bounce back from discrimination. This is much more challenging in cases of age discrimination. As a result, age discrimination cases require special attention and dedicated knowledge. They often require expert testimony about your future earning capacity and the damage done to it. You need the strongest Los Angeles age discrimination lawyers in your corner.
We are committed to fighting for economic justice for older workers.
If you believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace because of your age, King & Siegel LLP welcomes you to call our legal team today at (213) 214-3757 for a free review of your case.
What is Age Discrimination?
A survey found that over three-fifths of older workers reported experiencing age discrimination in the workplace. Almost a quarter of workers over age 45 reported being harassed with negative comments about their age by co-workers or supervisors.
What Qualifies as Age Discrimination at Work?
Both state and federal law prohibit discrimination against workers over 40 years old. (While some workplaces may “discriminate” against younger workers, the law does not forbid it.)
So what does age discrimination look like? It can take many forms. But some of the most common forms of age discrimination include:
- Being laid off, fired, or pressured to quit because of their age;
- Being passed over for promotions in favor of younger employees;
- Being replaced in a role by a younger worker who lacks experience;
- Being forced to train your own replacement;
- Being offered inferior assignments and reduced benefits;
- Being demoted or having your pay cut;
- Being forced to work fewer hours;
- Being pressured to take unwanted leave;
- Being denied transfer, medical leave, or other benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled.
Each of these examples qualifies as age discrimination under the right circumstances.
Proving Age Discrimination
To prove discrimination, a plaintiff must show that they suffered an “adverse employment action”—a termination, demotion, layoff, furlough, etc.—because of their age.
A plaintiff can prove that the adverse employment action was “because of” age by pointing to circumstantial evidence of discrimination, including:
- Comments about age, such as repeated references to retirement, getting old, or the age of younger workers
- A pattern of firing, laying off, furloughing, demoting, etc. older workers, while hiring or retaining younger workers
- Comments about “culture” and “fit” or “energy,” which are often used as codewords to hide age or disability discrimination and prioritize young, work-around-the-clock go-getters
- Suspicious timing relating to the adverse employment action, for instance, a termination just months before a long-term employee is eligible to receive a pension or other benefits
These are just a few examples of the types of evidence that can be used to prove age discrimination.
Age Discrimination in Mass Layoffs
A reduction in force (“RIF”), also known as a “mass layoff,” is an employer’s decision to terminate a group of employees in order to cut costs or reorganize. Mass layoffs are generally legal, provided your employer complies with any notice requirements under separate laws governing mass layoffs. However, employers sometimes use mass layoffs as a convenient excuse to terminate older or disabled workers.
To show that an employer has discriminated against older or disabled workers in conducting a mass layoff, an employee can rely on a variety of evidence, including comments by managers or a statistical imbalance between workers who were terminated and workers who were not. For instance, if a mass layoff causes the average age of the workforce to drop by 10 years, this can be evidence that the employer discriminated against older workers in conducting the mass layoffs.
If your employer is conducting a mass layoff and offering a severance to older workers that requires them to waive their age discrimination claims, they are required to provide a disclosure under the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act (“OWBPA”) listing:
- The job titles and ages of all workers who were terminated as part of the mass layoff
- The job titles and ages of all workers in the workgroup who were not selected for the mass layoff
If you have received a severance offer and an OWBPA disclosure, we recommend that you contact a Los Angeles age discrimination attorney to review the severance and disclosure to evaluate whether age discrimination played a role in the layoff. If so, you may have a claim for age discrimination and wrongful termination.
Some older workers not only face discrimination, but also run into persistent harassment, or a hostile work environment, based on their age. This is a claim separate from a claim of discrimination.
Any case where a supervisor or manager has directly created or simply allowed a negative environment to form that encourages or tolerates an offensive, abusive, or intimidating atmosphere in the workplace is illegal. This could involve circumstances where jokes, slurs, or derogatory comments have been made about someone’s age. When this happens, the individual harasser and the company itself can be held liable.
Age Discrimination Verdicts & Settlements
Juries and judges often recognize that age discrimination is particularly harmful to those who encounter it. Not only are older workers more likely to be laid off or terminated, but they are also less likely to find comparable reemployment, meaning that they often suffer significant economic harm as they are nearing retirement.
Moreover, juries and judges recognize that it is unfair to penalize someone who dedicated themselves to a long and productive career with an employer. Recent age discrimination verdicts in California can exceed $5 million, showing that juries consider the serious injustice of terminating loyal workers because of their age.
Age discrimination cases can be challenging. The discrimination can often be subtle and require analysis of statistical evidence of patterns of conduct. Not all lawyers are equipped to handle these challenging matters. To have a successful case, you need the dedicated, aggressive approach of our employment law attorneys.
King & Siegel LLP has significant experience litigating contested age discrimination cases on behalf of our clients. We understand that these cases are particularly high stakes. We are here to help you get justice.