Age Discrimination

Age Discrimination Laws

California workers are protected by both federal and state laws from age discrimination. These laws protect job applicants and  employees who are 40 years of age or older. It is illegal for an employer to demote, deny employment, or terminate someone based on their age. It is also illegal for an employer to deny any employee privileges or benefits, such as on-the-job-training, promotion, hiring, or compensation, because of their age.

There are additional protections for older employees under the federal Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. Under this act, employees who are 40 or older are entitled to 21 days to review any documents that waive their rights, such as a severance agreement. Additionally, employees have 7 days to revoke severance agreements. 

If you are over 40 and your employer has presented you with documents that waive your rights, please consider consulting with an expert employment lawyer before you sign them.

Age Discrimination Claims in California

California’s  age discrimination laws are found in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA.  FEHA applies to employers, which include corporations and other types of businesses, that regularly employ at least 5 employees. 

Before filing an age discrimination claim, employees must exhaust their remedies by filing with either the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (also known as DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The burdens of proof are different under California and federal law.  In general, an employee’s burden of proof is easier under California law, where the employee only has to show that age was a “substantial motivating factor” in an employment decision.  Under federal law, an employee must show that the employer made a decision because of the employee’s age.  (This is sometimes referred to as a but-for test.) This distinction can be extremely important in a close case.

Examples of Age Discrimination

Common cases of age discrimination include:

  • Older workers encouraged to retire.
  • Older workers are laid off for “poor performance.”
  • Teasing about age in the workplace.
  • Hiring of younger applicants over older applicants.

Age Discrimination Lawyer in Oakland

Hunter Pyle Law’s experienced and knowledgeable attorneys have helped many employees with their age discrimination claims in Oakland and surrounding areas.  If you feel as though you are a victim of age discrimination, contact us today for a free and confidential initial intake .