The City of Milpitas has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for violations of federal employment law. The City allegedly selected a younger employment candidate over older applicants with greater experience for the position of executive secretary to the City manager.

The lawsuit alleges the City failed to hire four qualified applicants who scored higher than the person who was hired in a three-person panel review of the candidates. The four candidates who were not selected were ages 42, 55, 56, and 58. The City hired a younger candidate who was 39 years old who was allegedly less qualified than the four people who were not hired.

Under federal law, people who are 40 years or older are protected from employment discrimination based on age. Additionally, employees cannot be legally harassed because of their age. The EEOC filed its age discrimination lawsuit in federal court after attempting to reach a settlement with the City. The lawsuit is asking for monetary damages for the four applicants and injunctive relief that is intended to prevent further age discrimination in the City of Milpitas government. The EEOC says that 23 percent of all EEOC charges filed in 2014 in the U.S. are related to age discrimination.

This lawsuit comes on the heels of a huge settlement with another Northern California employer. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is a federal security research facility that is about 45 miles east of San Francisco, reached a settlement with 129 older workers who claim they were fired because of their age.

The laboratory workers who sued were among 430 people who were laid off in 2007 when the lab restructured and shifted its focus away from nuclear research and towards other scientific research. One of the terminated employees alleged that when all of the laid-off workers got together for paperwork processing, it was clear that the company had only laid off older workers, none of them being under the age of 50.

In 2013, there were two jury trials related to the Laboratory layoffs. The first trial centered around employment contracts and the second trial dealt with age discrimination claims. The lab won the second trial, but the laid off employees appealed. The claims of all workers were finally settled for $37.25 million, which will be distributed among the employees based on their years of service with the lab and their pay rates.

In addition to the federal laws against employment discrimination based on age, California also has a law that prohibits discrimination based on age, the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The law is enforced by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Depending on the circumstances, an individual who has been discriminated against may choose to file a federal claim, a state claim, or both. If a person is successful in making a claim, he or she may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, lost benefits, emotional damages, and more.

If you have been the victim of age discrimination in the workplace in California, you should consider speaking with an attorney. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that an employee should be evaluated based on skills, experience, and ability to do the job, not age. Call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland age discrimination attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She can help you make a claim against your employer. She works with clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area, including Tracy, Fairfield, Hayward, San Jose, Berkeley, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

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