Age Discrimination

Age Discrimination is Alive and Well in the Workplace

Posted in Age Discrimination on March 28, 2016

fired professional older manBob’s company is suddenly laying off workers who are 50 years old or older despite their stellar employee performance reviews and replacing them with recent college graduates. Bob will be turning 50 next week and is a little nervous about his future with the company.

Janet knew she aced the interview and was more qualified than her younger competitors. However, she did not get the job. She felt the 30-year-old interviewer was analyzing every wrinkle on her face and counting every gray hair sprouting from her head to disqualify her from the job offer. Are the individuals in our scenarios victims of age discrimination? They could be.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58% of adults believe age discrimination for older workers happens around the age of 50 while 64% of employees say they have witnessed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Indeed, there are corporate environments that hire young managers with a primary task of weeding out older workers or, at least, making work life so uncomfortable they pack their own bags and leave. However, older workers should know their rights and think twice before handing over their keys and exiting the building.

You do not necessarily have to leave the company before filing a discrimination complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can file a charge of discrimination while still employed by the company. A qualified attorney can answer your questions and help you understand the best options for your case. Older workers need to remember there is a federal law that protects them, called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

ADEA is a federal law enacted in 1967 that protects older workers against age discrimination in the workplace. Employment should be based on ability rather than age. Older workers can view www.eeoc.gov/facts/age.html to learn more about the facts of ADEA and how the law can help them in their fight against age discrimination. According to recent data from the EEOC, many older workers have filed and resolved complaints under ADEA.

Often older workers are subject to age harassment aimed at removing them from their positions with a forced retirement. As a result, younger candidates will move into those vacated positions. Older workers may also experience position based discrimination. This happens when older workers do not get a promotion and younger employees with less experience get the promotion at a lesser compensation or salary.

In order to establish age discrimination under the ADEA, one must demonstrate the following:

  • Must be between the ages of 40 and 70
  • Exposed to adverse employment actions
  • Replaced by a younger individual
  • Qualified to perform the task or job

Under Federal & New York State laws, discrimination occurs when you are treated differently in a way that causes an adverse impact to you, based on your race, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin, political, affiliation or belief, genetics, arrest and conviction record, marital status, genetic, predisposition and carrier status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or retaliation.

If you believe you are a victim of age discrimination or feel an employer has violated your rights, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg. Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

Employment and Aging

Posted in Age Discrimination on November 16, 2015

Senior-depressed-businessman-t-74281255With age comes wisdom. The older you get, the more you seem to know, the more you have learned, and the more you have lived. Although with aging comes wisdom, with aging also comes some forms of discrimination. You can experience discrimination because of your age anywhere you go, but it often happens in the workplace. When this type of discrimination is present in the workplace, it is important to seek legal advice. If you or a loved one have experienced discrimination in your workplace due to your age, contacting an experienced New York City age discrimination attorney is invaluable.

What is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination involves treating someone, whether an applicant or an employee, less favorably because of his or her age. It is important to note, however, that the ADEA only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. The law forbids discrimination when it pertains to any aspect of the employment process including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, and layoffs. Statistics show that one in five workers believe that they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. To make matters worse, when it comes to the length of unemployment between jobs, older workers are at an all-time high averaging three months or longer for unemployment for someone age 55 or older, which is higher than younger individuals.

What are the Laws Regarding Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is illegal, and the ADEA particularly forbids age discrimination in companies that have 20 or more employees. Some examples of age discrimination are:

  • Pressuring or forcing an employee to retire;
  • Not allowing older employees to learn new skills;
  • Promoting a younger person rather than an older worker.

For an action of age discrimination to succeed, the plaintiff needs to prove that age discrimination was a motivating factor in the decision. Though this may sound straightforward, age discrimination plaintiffs have a tougher burden of proof because they need to prove that age discrimination was the only factor involved. Nonetheless, the law allows for damages based on compensation, costs, emotional distress, past and future losses, as well as punitive damages. It goes further to protect the victims of age discrimination by enforcing retaliation laws against an employer who retaliates against an individual for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in a legal proceeding involving age discrimination.

Need Legal Advice?

All forms of discrimination, especially in the workplace, are unacceptable. Discriminating based on age, however, can be particularly humbling as each year passes. Age discrimination does not have to be accepted because there are laws in place that will protect you. If you or a loved one feel that you have been discriminated against by your employer due to your age, contacting The Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg may be beneficial to determining whether you have a case. Contact our office at (212)-JUSTICE or info@employeejustice.com so that we can strategize about the best possible outcomes for your potential case.

Age Discrimination in Employment Should Not Be Accepted

Posted in Age Discrimination on March 9, 2015

Elderly Man In InterviewDuring the serious recession of the past few years, a number of stories surfaced regarding the additional hardship faced by many “older” workers.  After being laid off, these older workers were typically unemployed longer and had more difficulty finding new employment, and the trend continues today.  Numerous studies have found that unemployed workers over 55 spent 48.1 weeks unemployed, compared to an average of 28.5 weeks for those under 55.

In response to the plight of older workers, an abundance of articles have been published that seek to help the older worker overcome age discrimination and find employment.  The tone of many articles couches age and experience as obstacles to be overcome by the older worker and many of them implicitly accept the same stereotypes (e.g. older workers are slow and technologically inept) that employer’s hold.

Age Discrimination in Employment is Not Okay

These articles, and society generally, fail to truly emphasize the strengths that age and experience bring to a workforce.  The New York Times recently published this op-ed on the issue generally.  The articles likewise fail to place any responsibility on prospective employers. In addition to it being a moral obligation, New York state human rights laws and federal law explicitly prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees based on the employee’s age.  The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to employers with 20 employees or more that discriminate against employees because the employee is over 40 years old.  New York’s laws protect employees 18 or older from discrimination based on age when the employer has more than 4 employees.

Age Discrimination Takes Many Forms

Not hiring an employee solely based on their age is a common form of age discrimination, but it’s not the only form.  Age discrimination occurs anytime an adverse job decision or action is taken solely based on the employee’s age.  Some common examples of workplace occurrences that may constitute discrimination include being passed over by a promotion that is given to a younger, less qualified worker; being fired after hearing supervisors make derogatory comments about your age; and being demoted because of your age.

The only time an employer is permitted to discriminate based on an employee’s age is if the job objectively requires that the employee is a certain age.  These situations are exceedingly rare – for example, an employer hiring an actor to play a grandmother could legally discriminate based on age.  In contrast, an employer hiring a manual laborer cannot legally fail to hire an employee based on their age because a certain age is not absolutely required for the job.  If an older prospective employee is capable of performing the required job duties, they must be considered on equal footing with a younger prospective employee.

Addressing Employment Discrimination at Your Job

So, what is the best way to deal with age discrimination in employment?  Don’t.  Don’t accept it as a natural part of being a worker over the age of 40.  If you think you’ve been treated differently by a current or prospective employer because of your age, contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or by e-mail at info@employeejustice.com today to discuss your legal options.

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