Thursday, July 11, 2013

Understanding California Age Discrimination Law

age discrimination

Federal and California anti-discrimination laws are known to prohibit such common forms of workplace discrimination as race, sex, and disability discrimination. However, what many people don’t realize is that there are similar laws that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees and applicants in any aspect of employment on the basis of their age, as mentioned by California age discrimination attorneys.

During tough economic times, companies often resort to employment layoffs, affecting those who have been in service with them for a very long time. While there is certainty that new employees may also be let go, it is often the senior employees who are considered candidates to being laid off or terminated. This is because these individuals have been obtaining higher salaries for quite some time, and laying them off is the best option in such a difficult situation. For some employers, younger and less experienced workers cost less and are considered better investments than the senior and more experienced ones. Employers may easily get away with doing such employment decisions without discriminating others, but there have been a lot of California cases in which they subject employees age 40 or older to workplace bias on the basis of age. In fact, figures from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) showed that during the fiscal year 2012, the agency received about 1,800 of such cases. Needless to say, this form of workplace discrimination is definitely a humiliating experience, which is why affected employees must consult with California age discrimination lawyers right away.

About age discrimination and California age discrimination law

This form of workplace discrimination refers to an action or conduct in which an employee or applicant is less favored because of his or her age. It can happen in any term or condition of employment, including the following:

·   Hiring process, where an employer may deny an 40-year-old or older employee a job because of his or her age;

·     Promotions, where an employer decides not to promote an older, experienced employee and instead favors a younger but inexperienced employee;

·        Demotions, where an employer decides to assign an older employee to a low-ranking job in the company to give way to a younger employee to take over the vacant job opening previously held by the older one; and

·       Termination; where an employer decides to lay off an employee as a cost-cutting measure and as a way to invest on younger candidates in employment.

Age discrimination may seem new to some, but the employment law that makes this form of workplace discrimination illegal have been around since the 1960’s. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was signed into law in 1967, and applies to employers with 20 or more employees. This federal law simply prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants ages 40 or over. In California, similar provisions also appear in the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). While the laws apply to individuals aged 40 or older, they do not prohibit employers from favoring an older worker over a younger one, even if the ages of the two individuals are 40 or older.

Age-motivated harassment in the workplace is likewise not allowed under the ADEA and the FEHA, according to an age discrimination attorney in California. Saying offensive remarks about a person’s age, especially if the individual is 40 years or older, is considered harassment. Similar conduct that happens frequently to a person may either create a hostile working environment or may result in the employer making an adverse employment decision such as termination or demotion. Also, retaliating against an employee who charges, testifies or participates in an investigation of an age discrimination-related incident is illegal pursuant to the two anti-age discrimination laws.

Your rights under California age discrimination law

If you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of your age, then pursuing an age discrimination case against your employer should be the first of your priorities. However, having your case handled by the best Los Angeles age discrimination attorneys will guarantee you the best possible outcome. Failing to do so means undermining your right to just and fair compensations that you may be entitled to receive if you emerged victorious in your case.

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