It is illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate based on an employee's age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Unfortunately, too many employees are victims of employment violations disguised as cutbacks, layoffs and other excuses.
Allred, Maroko & Goldberg is a nationally recognized employment law firm in Los Angeles, California. For 40 years, the firm has represented individuals against employers and other institutions that wrongfully discriminate or fail to prevent harassment based on age and other protected classes. We have helped thousands of individuals recover settlements and awards for their suffering.
Age Discrimination Claims
The challenge in age discrimination claims is not to prove that someone was fired or denied a job under suspicious circumstances, but rather that age or years of experience played a defining role in the employer's decision. Under this criterion, a single employee may have a difficult time gathering the required evidence to file a valid complaint. However, age discrimination rarely happens in a vacuum. Typically, an employer will institute new policies, such as a budget cut decision, that affect a large group of older employees.
Below are some of the most common questions we receive about age discrimination:
What Is Age Discrimination?
Simply put, age discrimination is when an employer treats an employee unfavorably or different because of the employee's age. Examples of age discrimination include:
- Not being hired because of your age
- Termination due to your age (while younger employees were not fired)
- Not receiving a promotion (which went to a younger employee)
- Bad performance reviews linked to your age (such as not taking on new projects or your "inability" to learn new technology)
- Termination or not receiving a promotion after your employer makes age-related comments about you
Who Is Protected Under the Law?
Employees 40 and older are protected against age discrimination in the workplace for workplaces with 20 or more employees. Not all employees are covered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Employees not covered include individuals in "high policymaking positions" who are eligible to receive a pension worth $44,000 or higher and when a certain age is required for a specific job such as an actor or model.
Police officers, firefighters, tenured faculty at universities and some federal employees may have exceptions in their contracts that do not protect them from age discrimination in some cases.
Do I Have a Case if a Potential Employer Says I Am 'Overqualified'?
It all depends on the specific situation. Employers are prohibited from not hiring an experienced candidate because they assume he or she will retire soon or find a new job. However, employees would be required to prove that their age was the reason for not being hired instead of a different, valid reason. Our lawyers will analyze the situation and determine if you have a case.
Do I Have to Disclose My Age on an Application or During a Job Interview?
Employers are not prohibited from asking your age or date of birth. However, this is not a common question by employers so if it does happen, document the incident if you believe you have been a victim of age discrimination during the hiring process.
I Was Asked to Retire Early. Is This Legal?
It is not illegal to offer voluntary early retirement. These instances often require an employee to waive the right to file a claim against the company. The employer typically offers an increase in retirement benefits to make up for the early retirement. Every situation is different, however, and should be evaluated by an attorney before an employee signs any documents.
Our Success in Representing Victims of Age Discrimination
The age discrimination attorneys of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg have been successful at filing class action lawsuits on behalf of older employees. One such case example follows:
In December 2008, the Los Angeles Superior Court approved a settlement of $15 million in our class action age discrimination lawsuit against Circuit City on behalf of 217 former California employees. In March 2007, Circuit City terminated thousands of workers nationwide because they earned 51 cents or more above the established pay rate. They were then told they could reapply for jobs earning far less. We contended that this action discriminated against older employees who tended to be the higher wage earners, a violation of California law.
See more of our significant age discrimination cases.
Contact Our Employee Rights Law Firm
If you believe you are a victim of wrongful termination or another form of age discrimination, Allred, Maroko & Goldberg can explain your legal options and help protect your employee rights. Contact our Los Angeles law offices to speak with an employment lawyer about your case or call 323-302-4774 to schedule a free case evaluation. You can also contact our New York offices by calling 212-202-2966.