Age discrimination occurs when a person is unfairly or negatively treated on the basis of their perceived or actual age. Age discrimination is one of the less obvious types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace. However, age discrimination is just as serious as racial discrimination and all other forms of prohibited discrimination. Age discrimination can take various forms, including:
- Referring to an older employee as “old bird,” “grandma” or other stereotypical terms used to denote old age;
- Basing hiring, firing and the receipt of employment benefits on whether someone is youthful or elderly in appearance;
- Refusing to promote, or otherwise place an employee in a specific work position because of that employee’s age; or
- Delivering employment benefits on the basis of age.
Age discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by both federal and California state laws. The federal law that explicitly prohibits age discrimination is The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), while the California state law that provides protections against age discrimination in the workplace is The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Understanding the ADEA
The ADEA provides protections against age discrimination in the workplace for all employees who are 40 years of age or older. These protections are applicable to both job applicants and existing employees in Los Angeles. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against any employee because of age with respect to all terms, privileges or conditions of employment, which includes compensation, firing, hiring, promotion, training and job assignments. The ADEA is applicable to all employers who have 20 or more employees, and applies to private businesses as well as local and state governments, labor organizations and employment agencies. Under the ADEA, an employer has the right to request that an employee waive their rights or claims under the ADEA via settlement of an ADEA court or administrative claim, or in conjunction with any employment termination program.
The FEHA and Hostile Work Environment Age Discrimination Suits
Hostile work environment claims allege that harassment, such as age discrimination, has occurred in the workplace and such harassment was so unreasonable as to create a hostile work environment for the employee who is being harassed because of their age. In order to successfully bring a hostile work environment claim, it must be proven that the age harassment was severe and/or pervasive enough that the targeted employee’s work performance was negatively affected. Such determination is conducted through an analysis of the totality of the circumstances underlying the age discrimination. The harassed employee has the duty of proving how the age harassment would have interfered with the performance of a reasonable employee, and such a reasonable employee would have had their psychological well-being put into jeopardy because of the hostile work environment.
Los Angeles, California Employment Law Attorneys: Providing Top-Notch Legal Representation for Age Discrimination Suits
Age discrimination in the workplace is a serious offense prohibited by both federal and California state law. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today if you have been a victim of age discrimination, or are an employer accused of overseeing a hostile work environment as a result of age harassment. Our employment law attorneys in Los Angeles, California are available to provide legal representation and advice for both employees and employers.