It is illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of his or her age in California. If you believe you were discriminated against because of your age, it is important to contact an attorney with experience in California employments laws, particularly wage discrimination. Age discrimination cases can be difficult to prove. An attorney who is knowledgeable about age discrimination cases can be a valuable ally on your behalf.

Not all age discrimination is illegal. There are a few criteria that must be met in order for age discrimination to be unlawful. In order for age discrimination to occur, a person over the age of 40 must have been discriminated against in hiring, firing or promotion because he or she was considered “too old”. The person must have been negatively affected by the discrimination.  Some examples of age discrimination are when a worker is fired, demoted, or denied a promotion. The employee must also be able to prove that other employees who were younger than the worker were treated more favorably.

Age discrimination laws do not protect anyone under the age of 40. Therefore, if you were fired because you were “too young”, that action is not illegal. In addition, in some cases age discrimination or forced retirement are legal. Federal government positions and jobs involving public safety are exempt from age discrimination laws. In addition, some executive jobs are exempt.

As you might imagine, age discrimination lawsuits can be hard to prove—just because a worker is over the age of 40 does not mean their termination was based upon their age. It can be hard to show, for example, that a company that didn’t hire an older person and hired a young person did so because of age. However, in some instances the conduct is so blatantly obvious, or the company has such a widespread policy of age discrimination that the case can be easier to prove.

Workers who were discriminated against in California because of their age can sue either in state or federal court, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or under the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. If successful, workers can recover lost wages and benefits, as well as a financial award for the poor treatment.

Some common examples of age discrimination are when older employees are encouraged to retire or are laid off instead of younger workers, when employees are teased about their age at work, when workers are told they are being fired for poor performance but actually are fired because of their age, or not getting hired because the employer wanted someone who looks younger. Some companies may assume that older employees work more slowly, demand higher wages or can’t keep up with new technologies, all of which are illegal.

If you have been wrongfully discriminated against in the Oakland – San Francisco area, including Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, Richmond, Concord, or the surrounding areas, you have legal rights. However, you only have a limited time in which to protect those rights. Call Micha Star Liberty, Alameda County age discrimination attorney at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000 for a free consultation as soon as possible. She has significant experience in employment law issues, such as age discrimination. Call today.

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