Age discrimination is a growing problem in the US, with two out of three employees between 45 and 74 claiming they have seen or experienced the problem at work. However, age discrimination in the workplace is against the law in California according to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
It also is illegal under the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). If you are 40 or older and think you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you should talk to an attorney immediately. The Orange County age discrimination lawyers at Law Office of Joseph Richards P.C. may be able to assist you.
Laws Against Age Discrimination
The federal ADEA makes it illegal for many employers to treat older employees differently than younger workers with the same qualifications. The ADEA also outlaws age discrimination against employees that are 40 or older. However, the ADEA only covers companies with 20 or more employees that work at least 20 hours per week.
The FEHA in California works similarly to the federal statute. However, the FEHA applies to more companies and workers; it covers employers that have at least five employees, including part-timers. So, an employee could have a valid age discrimination claim in Orange County that is not covered by federal law.
Signs Of Age Discrimination In The Workplace
No one wants to be discriminated against at work, but it often happens. Here are several signs that you could be facing age discrimination:
You Hear Age-Related Remarks
Companies or managers commenting about employees’ age could be getting close to harassment and age discrimination. While this may not yet be actionable, these comments can signal problems.
Time reports that even when older workers are not held back because of their age, minor negative remarks on the job could hint at hostility towards an older demographic. If you notice these remarks at work, you should take notes of the comments, dates, and times. If you notice a regular pattern of negative comments, it may suggest that age discrimination is happening.
You Are Turned Down For A Promotion
There is nothing illegal about someone being passed over for a promotion. However, if you were not promoted and someone younger was given the job, this sometimes suggests age discrimination. If you can prove a pattern of older employees being passed over for promotions that often go to younger colleagues, you should talk to an age discrimination attorney.
Feeling Left Out
You might notice that you are not invited to important meetings and are left out of vital work decisions. It is even possible that your work location could be isolated from other workers. These issues can make it challenging for you to be a valued part of the work team.
Some older workers are asked to work off-site or go to another office. These changes could cause a significant disruption that makes older workers consider quitting.
Not Being Hired Because Of Age
If you’re not hired because of your age, that’s possibly unlawful discrimination. Of course, most companies will not admit they didn’t hire you because you’re over 40. Look out for comments that suggest age discrimination could be happening. If you and a younger employee have a clear difference in job qualifications, this could be another sign.
Being Passed Over For High-Profile Work Assignments
Another way that California employers may discriminate against you is by removing you from challenging or high-profile work assignments that could lead to a raise or promotion. This can demoralize the employee and make them look non-essential to others. In addition, you may feel as if the employer is trying to make you appear less competent and knowledgeable.
Being ‘Encouraged’ To Retire
Many companies offer early retirement packages to older workers to get rid of their higher salaries. These early retirement packages are often difficult to refuse. However, the company could terminate you later even if you turn down an early retirement package.
Some employers may also try to enforce a mandatory retirement age. This is illegal except for a few professions, such as airline pilots, firefighting, and law enforcement.
Being Disciplined Unfairly
California law requires that most employees be treated equally. However, did you notice that you get harsher criticism than younger workers for similar errors? This could be a definite sign that you are being discriminated against.
You could be a witness to age discrimination if you notice any of these signs. Have an age discrimination attorney in Orange County review your potential claim immediately.
How To Deal With Age Discrimination
You should always speak to an age discrimination attorney if you think you have been discriminated against. However, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of facing this problem:
Invest In Career And Skill Growth
Refrain from letting your skills and knowledge become stale. Instead, read, take continuing education classes, and push yourself to improve daily. Then, even if you are over 40, get a mentor who can show you how to improve your skills and reach a higher position in your career.
Do Not Play Into The Aging Professional Stereotype
There’s a stereotype of an older worker who doesn’t want to deal with current technology and workplace changes and doesn’t have enough energy to compete with younger workers. However, older employees are often a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. You can show your managers you are a valuable worker by not talking about how things were better years ago. Refraining from discussing your age is probably also good practical advice.
Show A High Level Of Professionalism
You may have a higher position at work and feel secure. But you should always project a positive image, dress well, and do your best to be an outstanding representative of your organization.
Speak To An Orange County Age Discrimination Lawyer Now
It is generally illegal in California and across the United States to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their age. However, if you think you are an age discrimination victim, Law Office of Joseph Richards P.C. can help you. Our attorneys fight for clients’ rights in Riverside County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County.