Standing Up Against Age Discrimination at Work
Age discrimination is prohibited under federal and state law, but countless employees suffer its effects regardless. If you’re age 40 or older, you should know how to identify the signs of age discrimination and how to exercise your legal rights with the help of a labor rights lawyer serving San Jose, CA. Another way to protect your job is to familiarize yourself with some basic employment law advice, such as by taking a proactive approach during the course of your career.
Know your legal rights.
Your employment law attorney can review your case to determine if your legal rights may have been violated. Under a federal law—the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)—employees and job candidates are protected from age-based discrimination if they are ages 40 or older. This law does have some limitations. For instance, it doesn’t apply to elected officials, military personnel, or independent contractors. The ADEA does apply to:
- Federal, state, and local government entities
- Labor organizations with a minimum of 25 members
- Employers with a minimum of 20 employees
- Employment agencies
Since the ADEA does not extend protections to employees of companies with fewer than 20 workers, many states have enacted additional protections. In California, employees are protected from age discrimination if the company has at least five employees. The same age range applies. Your state rights are explained in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Take a proactive approach to fight discrimination.
There is no guarantee that not having experienced age discrimination in the past will mean you won’t in the future. It’s best to be proactive about protecting your legal rights. During the course of your career, you should request specific feedback at each job review meeting. Request written copies of your job reviews, and keep these records indefinitely. A track record of positive job reviews can be helpful later on if you need to have a labor rights lawyer file an age discrimination claim.
Identify potential signs of age discrimination.
If you do suspect that you’ve been the recipient of discriminatory actions, contact an employee rights lawyer right away. Age discrimination isn’t always easy to spot. Sometimes, a mature worker may be told, “You have too much experience for this position,” or “Your salary history is too high.” These statements can indicate unlawful discrimination.