Age Discrimination


What constitutes age discrimination?

Age discrimination involves treating applicants or employees less favorably because they are age 40 or older. The law does not protect workers under the age of 40. Likewise, it is not illegal for an employer to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older. Discrimination can still be found even where the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.

What are some examples of age discrimination?

Age discrimination most commonly occurs during mass layoffs when companies have an incentive to fire older workers because they generally have higher compensation. It also often occurs during hiring. Below are some common examples of age discrimination from prior cases: 

Failure to Hire/Promote:

»  Car dealership owner told 50-year old employee that he was "too old" for the job and "washed up" in the industry.  Employee was later demoted to lower position and given less salary. » Company hired a 34-year old instead of a 62-year old despite older applicant having more educational and career experience and higher interview scores.

Pay Differences:

»  Staffing firm fired 55 year old employee after he complained that he was paid less than younger co-workers even though he had the most experience in his department. » Bank purposely gave employees over age 50 lower salary increases because it believed it would be harder for such employees to change jobs because they were too old.

Mass Layoffs:

» Company manipulated the criteria for selecting project engineers during three rounds of layoffs, adding additional criteria each time so that the oldest engineers in the department were laid off. If the additional criteria had not been implemented, younger workers would have been laid off instead. » Freight company used lay-off as a ruse to fire eight dockworkers who were over the age of 50 and had more than 20 years experience each at the company.  Workers were called names like "grandpa", "old farts" and "old bastards" by their supervisor. The company replaced the workers with younger hires who were paid less.

Customer Preference:

» Hair salon hired 22 year old stylist instead of 55 year old with 10 years more experience because it wanted to promote a young and hip image to attract customers. » Night club instituted a blanket policy saying that all employees must be under the age of 35 regardless of experience or qualifications.

How long do I have to file my age discrimination claim?

Two time limits apply for filing age discrimination claims under California law. First, you must request a right to sue notice from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of an adverse employment action. Secondly, you must file your lawsuit in state court within one year of obtaining the right to sue notice.

For instance, if you are terminated from employment on June 1, 2013 and obtain a right to sue notice on September 15, 2013 you would then have one year (until September 15, 2014) to file your discrimination lawsuit in state court.


How can an attorney help you?

An attorney can help navigate the complex process required to file and litigate an age discrimination complaint. Our firm is well-versed in gathering initial facts, advising clients on their alternatives, preparing a complaint, and litigating a age discrimination case until resolution. Remember: no recovery, no fees. We only get paid if we obtain a positive recovery in your case.
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We can review the facts of your case and give you an honest evaluation of any age discrimination issue you are facing. 


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