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Age Discrimination

Orange County Age Discrimination Attorneys

Your Employment Should Not Be Affected By Your Age

Stressed older woman in the middle of a job interview while young executives review her resumeCalifornia law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age under Government Code §§12940 and 12941. Like the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) bars discrimination against individuals over the age of 40 under Government Code §12926(b). But the FEHA provides more remedies than federal law does. For example, California law allows recovery for emotional distress and punitive damages, with no statutory limit on damage awards.

It is generally unlawful under the FEHA to do any of the following on the basis of a person's age:

  • Refuse to hire or employ the person
  • Refuse to select the person for a training program leading to employment
  • Bar or discharge the person from employment or from a training program leading to employment
  • Discriminate against the person in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment

If your employer has discriminated against you because of your age, contact our experienced Orange County age discrimination lawyers today for a free consultation.

U.S. Age Discrimination Statistics

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 14,183 charges of age discrimination in 2020 alone, representing 21% of all discrimination charges. These charges resulted in $76.3 million in monetary benefits being paid out, though this number is likely much higher when considering additional benefits secured through litigation.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by AARP:

  • Nearly one quarter of workers age 45 and older have been subjected to negative comments about their age from coworkers or supervisors.
  • Roughly 3 of 5 older workers have experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
  • More than three quarters of older workers see age discrimination as a hurdle for finding a new job.
  • More than half of older workers are prematurely pushed out of longtime jobs, with the vast majority (90%) of these workers never earning as much again.

What Is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is defined by the EEOC as any act that involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of their age. There are several ways that age discrimination shows up in the workplace, including:

  • Firing or laying off a person due to their age
  • Hiring a younger applicant instead of a more qualified, older applicant
  • Seeking younger job candidates in job postings and hiring decisions
  • Forcing or pressuring someone to quit due to their age
  • Offering lower pay, reduced benefits, or restricted job assignments based on age
  • Demoting or cutting a person's hours due to age
  • Harassing an employee based on their age with remarks or insults

California Age Discrimination Protection

California prohibits the use of salary as a basis for differentiating between employees when terminating employment under Government Code §12941. An employee may succeed on a claim of age discrimination by proving that the employer used salary as a basis for termination and the employer's use of salary adversely affected older employees. While the statute limits itself to addressing salary, other differences between younger and older workers, such as promotions and benefits, may be challenged as age discrimination under the FEHA as well.

Notwithstanding the above, the FEHA does not make it unlawful for employers to promote within the existing staff, hire or promote on the basis of experience and training, rehire on the basis of seniority and prior service, or hire under specified established recruiting programs. You may also refuse to employ a person based on age, when required to do so by other laws (e.g., child labor laws) under Government Code §12940(a)(5).

FEHA also prohibits mandatory retirement ages, even in bona fide private pension or retirement plans. Employees who wish to work beyond any retirement date and express this wish to the employer must be allowed to do so beyond the date provided for in their respective pension or retirement plans under Government Code §12942.

Which Employers Must Comply With Age Discrimination Laws?

California's age discrimination law under FEHA applies to all employers who regularly employ five or more people. This includes:

  • Public and private employers
  • State government employers
  • Labor organizations
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Employment agencies
  • Licensing boards

Compensation for Victims of Age Discrimination

Employees who have been unfairly treated in the workplace due to their age can seek a wide range of legal remedies and damages. Our team of trained attorneys are prepared to stand by your side and help you pursue compensation for the following:

  • Recovery of lost wages
  • Court costs and legal fees
  • Pain and suffering
  • Job reinstatement
  • Possible punitive damages

For more information or to secure legal representation, call Aegis Law Firm at (800) 543-4829 for a free consultation with a skilled age discrimination lawyer in Orange County.

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