At Romero Law, our trusted California employment law attorneys know that workplace discrimination occurs in many ways, and most of the time, it is subtle enough to avoid legal consequences. Unfortunately, researchers believe age discrimination is the most prevalent form of discrimination, but it is also the most overlooked, underestimated, and socially accepted form.
Apart from the emotional stress and degradation that comes with discrimination, the reality is age discrimination is illegal. Here, we discuss ways to spot age discrimination and how we can help enforce your legal rights to hold your employer liable for unlawful workplace behavior.
Anti-Discrimination Laws Consider a Worker’s Age a Protected Characteristic
In the U.S., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is the primary federal law governing workplace age discrimination. It is explicit about making its protections exclusive to workers who are 40+.
California law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act, also prohibits employer discrimination against job seekers who are 40 years of age or older.
The law prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
What are the Most Common Signs of Age Discrimination in California Workplaces?
Typically, two significant factors indicate age discrimination.
- Disparate Treatment
Disparate treatment intentionally treats an employee or group of employees unfavorably precisely because of their age.
This type is often more obvious to spot, and may include, but is not limited to:
- Providing older employees with less favorable terms and conditions of employment, such as inferior job assignments, work conditions, or benefits, compared to younger colleagues.
- Passing over older employees for promotions, raises, or opportunities for advancement in favor of younger, less-experienced workers.
- Subjecting older employees to derogatory comments, jokes, or insults about their age.
- Refusing to provide training or professional development opportunities to older employees, hindering their career growth.
- Unjustifiably demoting older employees or stripping them of responsibilities without legitimate reasons.
- Mandating older employees to retire based on age rather than assessing their capabilities and performance.
- Disproportionately targeting older employees for layoffs or downsizing while retaining younger workers with similar qualifications and performance.
- Disparate Impact
The disparate impact of age discrimination appears more subtle. This happens when an employer institutes a neutral policy — not targeted only at 40+ employees — but negatively affects older workers more than younger workers.
These may include implementing physical fitness standards that are not necessary for job performance and disproportionately affect older employees or requiring a high level of proficiency with new technologies without providing training opportunities, which may disproportionately affect older workers who may not be as familiar with specific technologies.
Subtle age discrimination is also illegal. If you believe your employer is implementing workplace practices targeting employees over 40 — even unintentionally — we can help you understand and enforce your workplace rights.
Contact our experienced Los Angeles County employment discrimination attorneys at Romero Law today to discuss your unique circumstances. Our Pasadena employment law firm and bilingual staff offer services in both English and Spanish and are available to discuss your case during a free consultation by calling (626)-396-9900 or contacting us online.