Working in a professional environment entitles you to fair treatment regardless of age, gender, and race. However, you may suffer from open or indirect discrimination based on age, resulting in unfair termination, among other adverse outcomes. Subsequently, you want to understand the form of age discrimination you are facing to help you address the issue accordingly. This blog will help you understand what to do when your workplace discriminates based on age, including how to find justice through different processes like court suits against unfair employers.
Identify the Form of Age-Based Discrimination You Face
Sometimes, discrimination occurs in subliminal ways so that you cannot distinguish it immediately. However, this does not mean that it does not happen, and letting it bypass would be an injustice to yourself and other employees facing it.
Thus, identifying the form of discrimination you face is crucial to help you prepare for your case after filing a complaint. Some common forms of discrimination to report on include:
Exclusion from Promotions
You may notice that other employees receive bonuses, promotions, or extra benefits to your exclusion. In this case, lodging an inquiry and requesting justifications for your exclusion is necessary, as it will help reveal whether discrimination has occurred. If you do not receive any solid reason for the exclusion, you can reach out to your attorney and discuss the possible avenues for redress.
Issuance of Compulsory Retirement Terms
Additionally, your company may unveil a policy requiring employees to retire after attaining a specific age. While company policies can change from time to time, discrimination becomes apparent when the age threshold targets employees unexpectedly.
For example, you may receive a letter requiring you to retire within a year despite having a reasonable expectation to work for ten more years. If so, the case is substantiated for unfair work terms, and you are entitled to seek remedies.
Active Recruitment and Replacement of Older Employees With Younger Ones
While creating new employment opportunities for younger incoming employees is commendable, it should not come at the cost of older ones. This is especially when the more senior employees are terminated without justifications or without attaining their retirement age. Consequently, an employer found to undertake the job position replacements is answerable to a disciplinary board or court, as it portrays underlying discrimination.
A Workspace Culture that is Anti-Older Employees
A significant factor to consider when accepting a job offer is the type of work environment you will join. This is because you spend a significantly long duration at the office, and your mental health may be severely affected in a negative space.
If your workplace portrays disregard for respect to older employees by making passive-aggressive comments and jokes, you want to consider taking up the matter to the relevant body. Their actions will be put under investigation, and if successful, you will receive damages for the harassment.
Unfair Termination Based on Age
You may also lose your job based on age discrimination, limiting your source of income. The best way to determine whether the termination was from unfair discrimination is to read the fine print in the termination letter.
The standard procedure requires your employer to list reasons for the termination, or at least provide the company hardships prompting downsizing human resources. If the details in your letter allude to your incapability to work based on age without any valid reasons, you can use this as the basis for lodging a complaint. Retaining the letter in its original format will also be essential for subsequent processes that require evidence on your claims.
Legal and Administrative Avenues to Seek Remedies
Based on the details you consolidate and present to an Employment law practitioner, you can explore several avenues to help you seek justice for the unfair treatment. Each process presents its merits and demerits, so you want to make careful consideration and settle for the best option. Nonetheless, you will receive guidance from the attorney you will work with to help you access the best benefits.
The following are the three main options to seek redress for age-based discrimination at the workplace:
Filing a Complaint to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing
Firstly, you can contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing(DFEH) and file an official complaint against your employer. Their role is to receive your complaint and all details regarding the age-based discrimination you faced and process it before receiving approval to sue.
To contact the department, you can place a phone call and interact with the assigned professional, guiding you on the steps to take. Alternatively, you can reach them through their website, as it is designed to automate the filing of complaints.
Once your matter is assessed, you will receive notifications requiring you to attend an interview. The goal of administering the interview session is for the DFEH to determine whether your case is suitable to undergo an official investigation. At this stage, the department is keen on taking on cases with substantive complaints, and unfair standards seem to have been applied against you at face value.
When you are cleared for an official investigation to begin, you will need to wait sixty days before an official working under the DFEH concludes the investigation. Through their notification, you will learn whether the case will be addressed through the department or whether it has been rejected.
You are more likely to have better chances of a successful outcome after the investigations when you try to undergo mediation sessions with your employer. If the sessions were unsuccessful, the DFEH will note it and advise you on whether to explore a lawsuit in court.
Lastly, you should note that the department provides a timeframe within which to present your grievances to avoid following up on frivolous or disingenuous cases. Subsequently, you want to present your case within three years of the discriminatory events for a chance to have the matter followed up.
Filing a Complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Alternatively, you can approach the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for assistance based on the age discrimination you face. Although it works separately from the DFEH, they both serve the same purpose in protecting employees vulnerable to discrimination. The specific role played by the EEOC includes ensuring that all federal laws against age discrimination are enforced for better workplace conditions.
However, you should note that the remedies available when working with the EEOC require you to undertake administrative measures, compared to the DFEH path that results in a suit. Usually, administrative hearings are heard by a panel of qualified officers and require you to present your case in detail before it is taken up for hearing.
Additionally, an administrative process may be time-consuming and expensive because you are expected to exhaust all internal dispute resolution mechanisms at your workplace before approaching the panel.
Therefore, the process may become strenuous as you will have to face the same persons who discriminated against you multiple times in the internal meetings before seeking your financial remedy.
Filing a Suit in Court
Finally, you can resort to a lawsuit, particularly if the DFEH and EEOC options are not approved, and limit your chances of seeking redress. Despite the availability of court interventions, it is noteworthy that the process is more expensive to undertake.
Moreover, the defense will prepare strong reasons to reduce the chances of success in your case. Consequently, your decision to file a suit should be well-informed based on the recommendations you receive from your attorney.
When your matter is registered in court, you will receive a court date to make your first appearance and submit your position. Afterward, the presiding judge admitted your submissions and supporting evidence in preparation for trial. You should endeavor to meet all court deadlines and present quality arguments for the best chances of success.
The court processes often take longer than administrative hearings because they handle multiple matters. Hence, you may not receive the sought damages within your expected timeline because the judge must be satisfied that the case has been heard to a conclusion. However, your attorney can request interim orders to help you continue working without discrimination, pending a final determination on the award of damages.
Remedies Available for an Aggrieved Employee
The administrative officers or judge presiding over your discrimination case will also be interested in learning of the damages you intend to seek if successful. They do so to determine whether your requests are substantiated and whether the losses you have suffered are proportional to the relief sought.
Therefore, you want to establish the best remedies to help you regain your position and recover from hardships and financial constraints brought by age-based discrimination. The best strategy is to partner with your attorney and discuss your expectations by the end of the process.
Some damages to seek relief for include:
Loss of Wages and Earning Capacity
Unfair termination excludes you from receiving wages and other salary benefits, on top of limiting your earning capacity. Additionally, when discrimination presents, offering promotions and salary raises will also affect your financial position, resulting in potential financial constraints. Hence, you can request compensation to cater to the losses suffered and reimbursement for time spent as an employee working for a lower salary than what you are entitled to.
Loss of Pension and Bonus Benefits
Further, unfair discrimination based on age will cost you pension and bonus benefits, much to your detriment. Including these requests when seeking damages is necessary to help you attain the same position as other employees and avoid regressing on your savings plans.
Additional damages to seek will cater to:
After losing your job or enduring working in a challenging environment, you are bound to face emotional distress. It often arises from the repeated exposure to discrimination or negativity when working in teams, pushing you to isolate or regress in your output.
Before you regain your confidence and wellbeing, you will need to undergo intensive therapy and additional medical checks. Doubtless, these procedures are expensive and may require you to spend on unbudgeted expenses. Subsequently, you require compensation to help you recover your financial position and continue working at an optimum mental health capacity.
You can also cite pain and suffering Legal Basis to Seek Remedies for Age-Based ⁶ manifests as denied access to union memberships and benefits based on your age. Therefore, you can seek remedies for any age-based discrimination at the workplace, provided you understand the details surrounding your experience.
When you begin to suspect that your unfair treatment stems from age-based discrimination, you can explore different remedies. However, you also want to obtain as much information as possible concerning the situation at hand. In doing so, you have more access to evidence and justifications for filing your case in the first place.
Further, gathering sufficient information prevents you from undertaking court measures based on speculation, which could create friction in your workplace. Thus, an excellent starting point is making observations and noting them down or informing your Employment law specialist.
as a valid reason to receive benefits, mainly if the discrimination negatively affects your mental health.
Protection from an Employer’s Retaliation or Opposition After Stopping Discrimination
When a case is concluded in your favor, the employer found liable for age-based discrimination should not retaliate or oppose the issued directives. Doing so would violate the law and attract additional repercussions for the party.
If you continue to face unfair discrimination and exemption at work based on your age, you can contact your employment law attorney and discuss how to tackle the problem. Additionally, you can engage your employer or the uncooperative colleague and inform them of the possible outcomes of their actions.
Contact an Employment Lawyer Near Me
When you dedicate yourself to working with a company for many years, you expect to be treated with dignity and valued for your years of experience. However, some employers may view you as a liability, meaning you are likely to be discriminated against for your older age. Based on the unlawful discrimination you face, you want to seek remedies as soon as possible. Doing so will help you retain your work position, or at least receive compensation for the unfair terms and start a new career elsewhere. By consulting Stop Unpaid Wages, you have access to some of the best employment lawyers in Los Angeles. Our team is ready to help you seek justice for age-based discrimination and help you retain your job. Call us today at 424-781-8411.