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Santa Barbara Workplace Age Discrimination Law

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Do you feel as though you are being treated differently in the workplace, or are having a harder time finding a job, because of your age? While your age should not affect the way that you are treated by employers, age discrimination is a very real issue. Fortunately, there are laws in place to protect older workers from being discriminated against. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against an employee based on their age. 

Unfortunately, violations of the ADEA are all too common and are often disguised as layoffs or cutbacks. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly because of your age, it is important that you know your rights, as you may have an age discrimination claim on your hands. Keep reading to learn more about age discrimination law, how you will know if you have an age discrimination case, and the importance of consulting an employment attorney. 

What Protections Does The ADEA Provide Older Workers?

The ADEA provides specific protections to older workers to ensure that they are not discriminated against because of their age. Age discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently simply because of their age. Examples of age discrimination can include:

  • Not hiring a candidate because of their age.
  • Terminating older employees when reducing the size of their staff while keeping younger employees.  
  • Passing over an older employee for a promotion in favor of a younger employee who is less qualified. 
  • Being harassed in the workplace due to your age.
  • Or, being terminated after your employer made age-related comments about you.

Age discrimination can take many forms, which is why it is important that employees know their rights. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly due to your age, it is important that you contact an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to find out if you may be entitled to compensation.  

Who is Protected?

Employees aged 40 and older are protected against age discrimination in the workplace in companies with 20 or more employees. The ADEA protects against discrimination in hiring, training, benefits, compensation, promotion, firing, layoffs, and other aspects of employment. Under the ADEA, an employee over the age of 40 cannot be treated differently, and hiring decisions cannot be made about them, based on their age. 

However, it is important to note that not all employees are covered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Employees not covered include specific industries where age can be a factor in employment such as with actors and models. Additionally, police officers, firefighters, and some federal employees may have exceptions in their contracts that mean that they are not protected from age discrimination. This is why it is important that you read your contract thoroughly when starting a new job so that you know what you are signing.     

How Do I Know if I Have an Age Discrimination Case?

Age discrimination can take many forms, and you may not even realize at first that you are being discriminated against. While employers may make a direct statement, such as by telling you that they are choosing another candidate because you are too old, oftentimes they will say something indirect such as “we are letting you go to make room for people with more energy.” Age discrimination may be even more subtle than that, as you may simply notice a pattern where you are routinely passed up for promotions in favor of younger candidates, or you may notice older employees at your company being routinely harassed or pushed out. If you are unsure whether you are the victim of age-based discrimination in the workplace, your best option would be to talk to an attorney. An experienced attorney can analyze your situation based on the facts you provide and help you to determine if you have a case.    

I Was Asked to Retire Early, is This Legal?

You may be wondering if you have an age discrimination case on your hands if you were approached by your employer about whether you would be willing to retire early. However, employers are allowed to offer voluntary early retirement. When this happens, an employee will often be required to file a waiver giving up their rights to file an age discrimination case against the company if they choose to accept early retirement. In exchange, the employee will usually be offered a severance package or an increased pension. While such an exchange is perfectly legal, it is not legal for an employer to force an older employee out of the company, and they cannot retaliate against an employee who chooses not to take early retirement. If you are offered early retirement and are considering accepting the offer, you should have the ADEA waiver you are given evaluated by an attorney before you agree to sign it in order to ensure your rights are protected.

Call a California Age Discrimination Attorney Today

Even though age discrimination is against the law, it is something that older employees still face on a regular basis. Whether you have been passed up for a promotion, turned down for a potential job, or terminated because of your age, you should not have to put up with this unfair treatment. If you believe that you are a victim of age discrimination, you may be protected by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. State laws may also offer you protection against age-based discrimination in the workplace. It is then important that you contact an employment attorney as soon as possible if you believe that an employer has treated you unfairly due to your age. You have a limited amount of time to file a discrimination claim, and partnering with an experienced attorney as soon as possible will give you the best chance of successfully proving your case.

Feel free to contact our attorneys to find out if you have an age discrimination case on your hands, as well as to find out what your next steps should be moving forward.