One often overlooked form of workplace discrimination is age discrimination. Not every employee has protections against age-based discrimination, as these only apply to workers age 40 and older.
The millennial generation has long been considered to be the young adults of the U.S., and many people might not realize that the first round of millennials (born in 1981) is turning 40 this year in 2021. This means that millennial employees will begin having age discrimination protections at work. Anyone in the Bay Area with any concerns about possible age discrimination should discuss the matter with a San Francisco discrimination lawyer right away.
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) both prohibit discrimination based on age against employees who are at least 40 years old. While you might assume that much older employees who are close to retirement are generally the targets of age discrimination, you might be surprised to learn that employers often discriminate against employees in their 40s and 50s, as well.
Companies might benefit from keeping the workforce younger in many ways. First, younger employees who are at the beginning of their careers might command much lower salaries than those who have years of experience in an industry. Also, younger employees might be more willing to work longer hours or take on more tasks than more established employees.
Even considering the benefits to employers, companies are still prohibited from terminating older employees and replacing them with younger ones solely based on their ages. Employers also may not take other employment actions on age, including promotions, job assignments, pay increases, and more.
Some examples of age discrimination might include:
One common scenario that involves age discrimination involves layoffs. A company might claim they have to lay off a number of employees due to job elimination and budget cuts. In reality, the company lays off a group of older employees with higher salaries, only to replace them with younger employees who get paid less. Be wary when companies terminate older employees due to “budget cuts.” If the position is not truly eliminated and it goes to a younger individual, it is a common sign that unlawful age discrimination occurred.
It is likely that many millennials never imagined they would have to worry about possible age discrimination anytime soon. However, for the oldest members of that generation, that time has come, and the legal team of Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP is here to help.
Our San Francisco employment discrimination lawyers represent clients in all types of discrimination cases, including age discrimination. Contact us for a case evaluation and to learn more about your rights.
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