Fremont Age Discrimination Lawyers
Experiencing workplace discrimination can leave you shaken in your abilities and unsure of where to turn. Being fired, passed over for a promotion, or subjected to discriminatory conditions in your employment based on a factor unrelated to your work performance can leave you feeling powerless. It is illegal to treat employees or potential employees differently because they are over 40. If you are being discriminated against based on your age, know that you can fight back.
King & Siegel LLP’s Fremont age discrimination lawyers have years of experience representing people who are mistreated by employers based on their age. If you have been the target of age discrimination, we can protect your rights. Our Fremont age discrimination attorneys graduated from top law schools and practiced at the nation’s leading law firms before dedicating themselves to representing employees who are wronged in the workplace. The firm has collectively recovered over $75 millionon behalf of California workers. Contact us today to speak with a Fremont age discrimination attorney!
What Is Age Discrimination?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating in the terms and conditions of employment based on age. Its California counterpart, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), provides overlapping protections. Both laws prohibit employment-based discrimination against people who are 40 years old or older. The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, while the FEHA applies to employers with five or more employees.
The ADEA and FEHA prohibit employers from considering age when deciding whether a person should be:
- Laid off,
- Promoted, or
In addition, employers cannot consider a person’s age as a factor influencing that person’s:
- Job Duties,
- Training, or
- Other opportunities.
Each of the actions described above is an “adverse employment action” in the eyes of the law. If you can prove that age was a motivating factor in any of these employment decisions, you have a claim for age discrimination.
Tangible employment actions are not the only way employers can discriminate against older workers. Harassment it is also illegal when it is “severe and pervasive.” The employer is liable for harassment if the harasser is a supervisor or if the employer:
- Could control the harasser;
- Knew or should have known about the harassment; and
- Failed to take prompt corrective action.
Isolated incidents and minor annoyances typically do not rise to the level of illegal harassment. However, the following conduct may rise to the level of harassment:
- Making offensive jokes or using slurs related to the target;
- Calling the target names or mocking them;
- Physically assaulting the target or threatening to assault them;
- Taunting the target with offensive photos or objects; and
- Interfering in the target’s work performance.
The harassment must be “unwelcome,” meaning the target was bothered by the conduct.
Policies that disparately impact people aged 40 or older can also constitute illegal discrimination, regardless of the employer’s intent. To prove disparate impact, a plaintiff must prove that a policy negatively impacts people within the older age group. Once the plaintiff shows disparate impact, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a “reasonable factor other than age” as the basis for the policy.
How Do You Raise a Claim of Age Discrimination?
Virtually every claim of employment discrimination must be filed with the appropriate state or federal agency before you can initiate a lawsuit. You may be able to request an immediate right to sue letter, or the agency may need to conduct an investigation. An experienced age discrimination attorney can help walking through these options.
Filing with an Agency
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles employment discrimination complaints at the federal level. However, the EEOC shares jurisdiction with many state agencies, including California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD). If you have been discriminated against based on your age, you can choose to file a complaint with either agency. You must file a complaint based on the ADEA within 300 days and a complaint based on the FEHA within three years.
The EEOC will conduct a preliminary investigation of most claims. If it concludes discrimination occurred, it will work with you and the employer to attempt to resolve the dispute. If you cannot reach a satisfactory resolution, you can request a right-to-sue letter, which allows you to initiate a lawsuit based on age discrimination. You can request a letter even if the agency does not conclude discrimination occurred.
By contrast, the CRD permits you to request an immediate right to sue letter if you would prefer to pursue your claims and court. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.
Suing in Court
Once you obtain a right to sue letter, you can initiate a lawsuit in civil court. Unlike the agency’s investigation, you can choose how the lawsuit proceeds. You can further investigate the claim, shape your legal claims, and request remedies that are tailored to your situation.
What Remedies Are Available for Age Discrimination?
If you prove age discrimination, you can request a remedy tailored to the discriminatory conduct at issue. Depending on the circumstances, you may ask that the court or agency require the employer to:
- Reinstate you,
- Hire you,
- Promote you,
- Modify your pay,
- Modify your job duties,
- Offer you training,
- Change its policies, or
- Grant you appropriate benefits.
In lieu of or in addition to those remedies, you can request compensatory damages, covering your actual costs and amounts you lost or missed out on due to the discriminatory conduct. Compensatory damages may include awards of:
- Back pay,
- Front pay, and
- Attorney’s fees and costs.
In particularly egregious cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages designed to punish the employer and deter future misconduct.
King & Siegel LLP Can Help
Dealing with discrimination may leave you feeling helpless, but you have options. If you have been treated differently at work because of your age, contact King & Siegel LLP today. Our Fremont age discrimination lawyers can guide you through filing an employment discrimination complaint and, if you do not reach a satisfying resolution through that process, file a Fremont age discrimination lawsuit.