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How Can I Be Sure I Have a Valid Age Discrimination Case?

As you get older, you tend to feel more confident about things. You might have a comfortable savings and some equity in you home. Though you might be strapped with college costs or helping adult children in other ways, in general, things are far more secure than they were in early adulthood.

All of the confidence of middle age can come crashing down if you lose your job, which is all too common in these uncertain financial times. Companies are cutting back or going out of business all together, and without any warning, you might find yourself searching for work late in your career.

Unfortunately, there are times in which middle age is the cause of your termination. Your employer might see an opportunity to hire a younger person to do your job at a lower wage. They might think someone younger would be a more obedient employee or more willing to take on menial tasks, in addition to your current job description. Regardless of the benefit they might see in replacing you with someone younger, doing so is a violation of employment law.

Federal Laws against Age Discrimination

The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) requires all hiring and employment decisions be based on a person’s skills and ability to perform his or her job responsibilities, as opposed to that person’s age. The requirements of the ADEA apply to all companies with 20 or more employees and protect employees and job applicants over 40 years of age.

If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, you might be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, proving age discrimination can be a bit tricky. If a company terminates several employees of varying ages, it is probably not a case of age discrimination. However, if there is a pattern of behavior related to the age of employees, you might have a case.

How Can You Be Sure Your Case is One of Age Discrimination?

Comments are made about your age: Any time a decision-maker comments on your age, it could automatically a case of age discrimination. The comments can be direct insults or subtle references to your age.

Lack of choices in your future with the company: Sometimes companies offer severance packages or early retirement benefits to people if they are doing across-the-board layoffs. In this case, older employees are more likely to choose to leave because they are closer to their anticipated retirement age. Employees of all ages might be offered this option of “early retirement,” but only those within a few years of retiring are likely to take it. Should any employees choose to stay, they could be required to accept a lower paying position.

However, if younger employers are given an option to stay at a lower paying position, but you are told you must take the severance, you might have a case. All opportunities to stay or go must be consistent for all employees.

Matters of discipline: If employees are told they will be let go due to job performance and you are suddenly written up for things that were never a problem before, your employer could be using matters of discipline to avoid accusations of age discrimination. Pay special attention to how you are treated once talk of lay-offs begins in your company.

The best thing you can do if you believe you are being targeted in the workplace because of your age is to speak to an experienced employment law attorney. He or she can explain your options and help you determine if your experience really is one of age discrimination. And if it is, an attorney can help you pursue your case.

If you have questions about employment discrimination or believe you have been discriminated against in the work place because you are older, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.


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