Who is Protected?
Californian employees are protected by both the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).
While the two sets of laws are very similar, there are a few instances where they differ to the extent of what protections that they provide to employees. When the two laws conflict, employers are usually bound by whichever law offers the highest level of protection. In most cases, FEHA provides greater protections for employees, which is why it is more advisable to seek remedy under the FEHA rather than the ADEA.
The FEHA applies to smaller employers: those with at least 5 employees. The FEHA protects against age discrimination in the workplace for employees and applicants who are 40 and older.
The ADEA applies to larger employers: those with at least 20 employees. The ADEA protects against age discrimination in the workplace for employees and applicants who are 40 and older.
It is important to note, however, that some employees are not covered under the ADEAt, including:
- “high policymaking positions” with eligibility to receive a pension worth $44,000 or higher
- specific jobs that require an age requirement, such as an actor or model.
What is the Reason for Age Discrimination?
So, why is age discrimination so prevalent in the United States workforce? There are many different reasons why age discrimination rears its ugly head. Sometimes, employers are blind to their own discriminatory practices, because they are looking for characteristics and traits that are often found in younger individuals.
The following incorrect thought processes often lead to age discrimination in employment:
Incorrect thought process: Why hire someone that has 20 years of experience and demands a higher salary, when we can get someone fresh out of college for half the pay?
Incorrect thought process: Our company utilizes cutting edge technology, and someone who is older is not tech savvy.
Incorrect though process: A fast-paced job environment is more suitable for someone who is younger and who has the energy and stamina to keep up with the demands of the business.
Age Discrimination Statistics
The EEOC reports that 18,376 charges were filed on the basis of age discrimination, accounting for 21.8% of all workplace discrimination charges filed in 2017.
A 2016 study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco largely evidences age discrimination across the United States. The study consisted of 40,000 identical resumes with the exception of age and gender, 13,000 job positions and 12 different cities, making it one of the most comprehensive age discrimination studies ever conducted. The findings were that overall the callback rate for interviews was significantly lower for older applicants than their younger counterparts. Interestingly enough, older women seemed to face even more discrimination than older men.
Do I need to hire an age discrimination lawyer?
In order to have a successful age discrimination claim, you must be able to show proof of the following:
- that the employer is subject to the applicable age discrimination laws
- that the individual is 40 years old or older
- that the individual was affected by an adverse employment action
- that the employer took adverse action because of the individual’s age
Although you don’t have to hire an age discrimination attorney to submit a claim, it can be difficult to prove your case without one. The law is very complex and hard to navigate. A Riverside age discrimination lawyer can review your case and help you collect legally-relevant information, navigate the strategic pitfalls that only lawyers are familiar with, and may even be able to help maximize your compensation. Call an age discrimination attorney today at Rizio Liberty Lipinsky for help with your age discrimination claim.