Were You Fired for Age Discrimination?
Individuals who are forty years of age or older are protected from employment discrimination based on age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The ADEA protections apply to job applicants as well as employees. Under the Act, a person may not be discriminated against on the basis of age with respect to:
- Job assignments;
- Training, or
- Any term, condition or privilege of employment.
In fact, under the ADEA, employers are allowed to favor older workers based on age, even when doing so can adversely affect a younger worker who is also 40 or older. Even if you believe you have a solid age discrimination case, there are certain things you should consider, including:
- If you were recently fired by the same boss who hired you—not very long ago—then the court may presume age is not the issue. For instance, if you were hired at age 57 and fired at age 59, then the court will assume your boss would not have hired you in the first place if he or she had a problem with your age. On the other hand, if you were hired at 29, and fired at 52, then age could, in fact, be an issue.
- It is important to understand that courts expect issues like nepotism, favoritism and so on, to exist in most workplaces. This means if the boss gave the promotion you expected to his 22-year-old niece, you may not have an age discrimination case.
- You may not realize that you are being treated in the same manner as other “similarly situated” co-workers. In other words, it is important that you have all the facts in the case prior to bringing an age discrimination lawsuit. It could turn out that the young person who was promoted instead of you actually had better sales numbers.
- If your boss is, in general, a jerk to everyone who works at your place of employment you probably won't have an age discrimination case—unless he or she obviously favors the younger workers and is much harder on the older workers.
- If you had the same boss for twenty years, and consistently received outstanding performance reviews, then a new boss comes in and is on your case all the time, remember that age discrimination must be obvious, because your new boss is allowed to have his or her own performance standards—so long as everyone in the workplace is required to adhere to those standards.
- If your employer honestly believes you committed a termination offense—even if you don't—he or she can terminate or discipline you based on this belief. This means that even if you believe you were terminated due to your age, if your employer truly believed the offense you committed was worthy of termination, the court will likely not look favorably on your age discrimination case.
- If your replacement is as old as you or older, you will have difficulty convincing a court you were the victim of age discrimination.
In order to fully prove you were the victim of age discrimination, you will need to show one or more of the following:
- You were commonly the target of biased comments (being called “Grandma” or “Old Man”).
- You were consistently treated differently than those younger than yourself.
- You were disciplined for something younger employees do with no consequences.
- If you were passed over for a promotion that you are more qualified for, and a younger, less-qualified person was chosen, age discrimination could be present.
- If you recently turned 50 or 60 and begin getting negative performance reviews or write ups, when you have always received positive performance reviews, you could have an age-discrimination claim.
- If you believe your boss is attempting to make you miserable due to your age, in an effort to force you to quit, and does so by making fun of your age or through obvious age harassment, document everything.
The ADEA also prohibits discrimination based on a person's age in apprenticeship programs, job notices, job advertisements, pre-employment inquiries and benefits. While many employers could make the assumption that you are close to retirement age, therefore don't really need the job, while a younger person might, this is far from the reality for most Americans. Employers may also make the assumption that older workers will have more medical issues, therefore will miss more days of work, however statistics show older employees are actually the most reliable. So, it is not only foolish to discriminate based on age, it is also illegal in most cases. If you are the victim of age discrimination contact an employment attorney immediately to ensure your rights are properly protected.
Contact Our Louisville and Lexington Employment Lawyers
At Sciantarelli Law Firm, our Louisville employment attorneys are ready to fight for you and your rights. If you believe you have been unfairly discriminated against at work, we can help . To learn more about your legal rights, contact experienced Louisville employment attorney, Kevin Sciantarelli, today for a free consultation. Call 1-855-538-4611 or fill out our online contact form for more information.