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Age Discrimination

Charlotte Age Discrimination Lawyer

Age discrimination occurs when an employee is treated adversely by their employer because of their age. Generally, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees who are over 40 years of age. Among other things, employees can be discriminated against on the basis of their age in employment decisions (e.g., hiring, firing, promotion), workplace rules, compensation, and in the existence of a non-threatening work environment.  Employers are also prohibited from treating older workers differently in performance reviews or in the setting of goals and metrics as compared to younger employees in similarly situated positions.

Identifying age discrimination is sometimes difficult. After all, employers are free to hire who they want, and sometimes younger employees are more qualified. The fact that an older worker has suffered an adverse employment decision is not proof, by itself, of age discrimination. For help determining whether you have a case, contact our law firm today.

Signs You Have Suffered Discrimination

Unless an employer flat-out admits that they are treating you differently due to your age, we need to rely on other, circumstantial evidence to prove age discrimination. If you notice any of the following, you might have been a victim:

  • You are fired even though you had good performance evaluations and were replaced with someone younger.
  • Your boss keeps asking you when you plan to retire or asks questions about your health.
  • Your employer constantly talks about trying to make the company seem “hipper” or more “digital savvy,” which are often euphemisms for hiring younger people and clearing out the older workers.
  • An employer asks your age during an interview or wants to know when you graduated high school or college, which are ways of finding out the same information.

We see many instances of age discrimination occur in the context of “reorganizations” and “reductions in force.” Employers can use these otherwise lawful structural changes as a way to terminate older workers by “reorganizing” them out of their job. We have a great deal of experience analyzing these types of structural changes to evaluate whether they target or unduly burden older workers. If you have been the victim of age discrimination, we encourage you to contact us.

Age Related Harassment

It is unlawful to use age as the criteria to determine which employees to hire, or fire, or how to pay employees. It is also unlawful to harass employees based on their age by making offensive remarks, engaging in stereotyping, or allowing a hostile or intimidating working environment.

Bringing a harassment claim is complicated, however, because a key legal question is whether the workplace was sufficiently hostile, abusive, or intimidating. For example, one stray comment about your age will probably not be enough to make the workplace harassing. However, multiple comments could be.

Also, the law looks at what a “reasonable” person would find offensive. It is important for those with “thin skins” to realize that not every statement made about age is offensive to the typical person.

Still, if you hear jokes, slurs, or offensive remarks about people based on their age, you might have a legal claim. Never assume that the conduct is too minor to warrant meeting with an attorney.

An interesting wrinkle of harassment law is that you do not have to be the focus of the hostile remarks to sue. If colleagues are making statements about someone else, your own workplace experience could nevertheless be negatively affected. Contact a Charlotte age discrimination attorney to review whether you have a valid age harassment claim.

Compensation for Age Discrimination

Our clients can qualify for compensation to make up for the discrimination. For example, many of our clients have qualified for some or all of the following:

Back pay

Someone laid off could receive the wages they could have earned had they continued to be employed.

Front pay

Sometimes, the discrimination affects a client’s career going forward, in which case they could receive front pay damages.

Lost benefits

Terminated employees also lose out on benefits, such as health insurance and retirement. Our clients have sometimes qualified for those.

Attorney’s fees

Our clients have been awarded their attorneys’ fees in cases in which they were successful. This increases the amount our clients take home.

To fully understand the benefits our clients can receive, they should consult with an attorney.

Call Our Charlotte Age Discrimination Attorney Today

No one should suffer from age-related bias. When it harms your career, you do have legal rights. Please contact Strianese Huckert, LLP to learn more about how you can fight back.