What is Ageism, or Age Discrimination?

Many people are discovering that they need, or want, to continue working in their later years, but some employers refuse to hire or actively work to push out employees of a certain age. This is known as ageism, or age discrimination, and it is prohibited by state and federal laws. If you believe that your employer in California is discriminating against you because of your age or another protected characteristic, talk to an experienced employment law attorney in your area today to learn more about your legal options.

Federal Age Discrimination Protection

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law that bars an employer from discriminating against workers who are 40 years old or older. Ageism can occur even if the employer engaging in these actions and the employee are both over 40 years old. Discrimination encompasses a wide range of adverse employment actions taken against a person that can either be an applicant or employee because of a protected trait, which includes age. These actions include the following: 

  • Hiring
  • Termination
  • Suspension
  • Pay difference
  • Undesirable job assignments
  • Transfer to a less desirable worksite
  • Refusal of training or advancement opportunities
  • Refusal of certain benefits
  • Poor performance reviews
  • Disciplinary action, and more.

California Age Discrimination Protection

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also provides additional protections to older workers against age discrimination in the workplace. It extends protections to workers at any company that employs five or more people. The standards of proof are also lower when bringing an age discrimination claim against an employer under the state law, which only requires that the employee prove that their age was a “substantial motivating factor,” as opposed to the federal law that requires a higher standard of proof.

Signs of Age Discrimination in the Workplace

Employers rarely come out and say that they are discriminating against their employees who reach a certain age, but there are signs that workers should take note of if they have concerns about ageism in their workplace. Some of the most common signs that an employer is engaging in age discrimination includes the following:

  • Firing employees who have been with the company for many years,
  • Firing employees who make a higher salary,
  • Making older workers take on certain difficult duties,
  • Jokes, comments, or harassment about a worker’s age,
  • Sudden changes in performance reviews of older workers,
  • Promoting a “young” corporate culture,
  • Retaliation against employees for reporting discrimination, and
  • Forcing older employees into retirement.

If you are noticing these signs around your workplace, it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Call or Contact an Attorney Now

With the Baby Boomer generation entering their twilight years, the issue of age discrimination in the workplace will only increase with time. If you believe that your employer is discriminating against you or a coworker because of their age, you have legal options. Call or contact an experienced employment law attorney in your area today to learn more.