It is unlawful to discriminate against or harass someone because of their age. Individuals age 40 and older are considered a protected classification under the law. The Dolan Law Firm has handled numerous age discrimination actions with excellent results, recovering damages on behalf of older employees who have suffered discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace.
Have You Been Discriminated Against Because of Your Age?
Contact us online or call 415-636-8160 if you feel that you have been treated unlawfully because of your age. We work on a contingency fee and are paid only if we win a recovery for you.
Age, like race and sex, is the product of the workings of nature rather than the individual’s free choice; once acquired, the status of being age 40 or older is as permanent and immutable as race or sex. Age discrimination attacks the individual’s sense of self-worth in much the same fashion as race or sex discrimination. Indeed, age discrimination (or ageism, as it is sometimes called) has been defined as a systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old, just as racism and sexism accomplish this with skin color and gender. California Government Code Section 12941.1
Likewise, it is unlawful to discriminate in housing on the basis of age under California Civil Code Section 51.10.
Examples of Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination Include:
- Denial of employment/hiring someone just because they are age 40 or older
- Making jokes or unwanted comments on the basis of age
- Assignment of undesirable or demeaning tasks only to older people
- Lower pay for the same work
- Denial of training, education or other benefits to older people
- Making a job more difficult to encourage someone to quit
- Reduction in forces/layoffs that disproportionately affect older people
Terminations that affect older people disproportionately as well as policies that provide training, educational benefits and other benefits only for younger workers may be discriminatory. Likewise, California law precludes termination decisions based on salary, which have a disparate impact (cause a greater impact) on older people.
Can You Quit if Conditions Are Intolerable?
The law recognizes that sometimes conditions get so bad that people have no reasonable alternative but to quit their employment rather than endure continued unlawful conduct. An employee cannot just quit and sue because of one simple incident. The conditions must be of such severity and frequency that a reasonable person would think that they have no alternative but to quit. Under the law, this is considered constructive wrongful termination. You should first report the conditions through your company’s complaint procedure, where possible, before you quit or your rights to recover damages may be reduced.
What to Do if You Have Been Treated Unlawfully
Many companies have policies regarding anti-discrimination and harassment in their company handbooks. Likewise, they may have reporting requirements that say you must follow a certain channel of communication in reporting harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. You should follow these procedures and document your actions in writing. Failure to follow these procedures may lead to a denial of your legal right to recover certain damages like punitive damages. The law protects you from retaliation.
You have a limited period of time to act to protect your rights. Failure to act promptly may eliminate your right to take legal action.
An individual who has suffered unlawful conduct in California in violation of their rights under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (such as discrimination and or harassment based on membership in a protected classification) must file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), generally within one year of the conduct (there are limited exceptions in some cases) or they may lose their right to pursue legal action for this conduct.
Contact An Age Discrimination Attorney At The Dolan Law Firm Today
If you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed because of your age, contact the Dolan Law Firm online or call 415-636-8160 for a free, confidential case evaluation.