Irvine Age Discrimination Lawyer
There is an old saying that “age brings wisdom.” Unfortunately, many California employers do not see it that way. They view age as a bad thing in an employee. In some cases, older employees are considered an unnecessary expense when compared to younger workers. And some businesses simply think they have to “stay young” in order to remain competitive in the market.
Neither of these excuses, however, justifies age discrimination. That is why federal and California state laws protect most workers who are 40 or older from being fired, demoted, or otherwise treated less favorably in the workplace due to their age. If a current or prospective employer has ignored these laws and you need legal advice from a qualified Irvine age discrimination lawyer, the team at The Garza Firm is here to help.
What Qualifies as Age Discrimination in California?
Two principal laws govern age discrimination claims in California: the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Both laws provide that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on age, provided they are at least 40 years old. Discrimination in this context can include any of the following:
- firing an employee because they have been with the company “too long”;
- firing an older employee because they make “too much” money;
- refusing to hire or promote workers over the age of 40;
- creating a hostile work environment for older workers;
- promoting a corporate culture that emphasizes “youth”; and
- retaliating against an employee who complains about age discrimination.
As a general rule, age discrimination laws prohibit employers from imposing a mandatory retirement plan. There are certain exceptions, however, notably for physicians who are 70 years old or older employed by a professional medical corporation, and for executives who are 65 years old or older and are entitled to receive an immediate, non-forfeitable annual retirement benefit.
Contact The Garza Firm Today
In many employment discrimination cases, your first step would normally be to file an administrative complaint with either the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agencies charged with enforcing the FEHA and ADEA, respectively. The ADEA does not require such a complaint, however, in age discrimination cases. This means that you can file a federal lawsuit against an employer who commits age discrimination without first waiting for the EEOC to issue you a “right to sue” letter.
A successful age discrimination action can recover a variety of damages, including compensation in the form of back pay, the additional income you would have received for a wrongfully denied promotion, and even damages for the suffering and emotional stress you endured due to the discrimination.
So if you are 40 or older and suspect that your age played a role in an adverse employment decision, it is imperative that you speak with a skilled Irvine age discrimination lawyer as soon as possible. Contact The Garza Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.