Age discrimination assaults an individual’s sense of worth in the same manner as being discriminated against due to your race or gender. The status of being over forty years old is something that is permanent and cannot be changed, therefore, if you are forty years of age or older, the law considers you part of a protected class. It is against the law to harass or discriminate against someone due to their age.  This is also known as ageism.

In California, it is both illegal and unlawful to discriminate or harass someone because of their age.  The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, provides that anyone over the age of 40 is protected from this type of age discrimination.The law prevents discrimination from corporations, unions, employment agencies, internships and apprentice programs. The act further extends to include any person or entity that aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces in a discriminatory act. The attorneys at the Ernst Law Group have the resources and expertise to protect your rights.

The law provides for the fact that there are situations in which an employee’s condition is so abominable that they must quit instead of enduring more unlawful and unsavory treatment. However, an employee cannot quit due to a single incident. To be considered ageism the treatment must be of enduring severity and frequency that a reasonable person would see no alternative but to terminate their relationship with their employer. The person must feel that in affect they were ultimately terminated.  It is important to first report what is happening to the correct authorities in your workplace and follow your company’s complaint procedure before you quit, or your potential recovery may be affected. It is important to follow your company’s prescribed chain of command and discrimination policies, and to document the infractions carefully. Failure to do so may end up hurting your potential case.

The code is California Government Code Section 12941.1.

The most common type of age discrimination is wrongful termination.  However, simply being discriminated against does not provide you a remedy.  Just being terminated when you are older than 40 is not enough.  We must be able to prove discrimination by either direct or indirect evidence.

Direct evidence of discrimination is rare.  Therefore indirect evidence is required, and the case Stephens v. Coldwell Banker Commercial Group, Inc, provides the method.  Two establish the claim for age discrimatino, the employee has the burden of proving they were a member of the protected class (over 40 years of age), they were preforming the job satisfactorily, and the employee was terminated or demoted under circumstances which give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.

Once this initial step is completed, the employer must produce evidence to explain that the termination was for some lawful non-discriminatory reason.  The plaintiff then has an opportunity to prove the discriminatory reason is more likely than the non-discriminatory reason.

As with all litigation, there are certain time limits in which you must take action to protect your legal rights. Failure to act accordingly may compromise or eliminate your rights. If you are an individual who has been a victim of unlawful conduct and have had your rights violated under the Fair Employment and Housing Act must file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing generally within one year of the alleged unlawful conduct.

If you have been discriminated against because of your age, feel free to reach out to us at the Ernst Law Group for a free consultation.  We operate on a contingency fee, meaning we pay all of the costs of the trial upfront, and we only get paid when we win your case.  We are confident we can help.
 
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