DO you know what is 10 Signs You Were Fired Illegally Based On Your Age?
As of 2017, the average amount of years a person lives in full health
in the United States is 79 and the average working American retires at
age 66. The latest stats show Americans are capable of working and some
do, work well into their later years, but are they afforded the same
opportunities as younger employees? Today, older individuals who are currently employed or are applying for a position remain at risk for becoming victims of unlawful hiring practices, which is considered age discrimination.
For older workers who are currently employed, it makes sense that as
younger individuals enter the job market, the older employees still
remain in their current positions. This has the potential to tempt
employers to trade them in for a new and shinier model. Below is a list of signs a Discrimination Attorney would likely identify as discriminatory behavior in the workplace.
- You were fired and you are 40 years old or older
you're 40-years-old or older, that ticks an initial box in determining
if you can sue your old boss for discrimination, but it's not that
simple. Employment laws in California forbid discrimination from taking
place in the workplace. Discrimination laws
in the state do protect certain classes of individuals as well as
particular characteristics an individual may possess and age is
protected for employees and applicants who are 40 years of age. Keep in
mind though, the age of 40 and older is not sufficient to protected age
discrimination. In other words, employees who are 40-years-old or older
do not have automatic special status that is protected by the law. But,
an employee who was fired because of age and they are 40 years of age
or older, that set of facts does give rise to a potential age
discrimination claim. If age, specifically age 40 or older is in fact
raised in the decision to terminate an employee, that is perhaps
sufficient to establish age discrimination.
- You were fired and replaced by someone younger
other facts, a key sign that you were fired based on your age would be
if your replacement was younger than you. Specifically, the significance
in age difference is the giveaway that you were discriminated against.
So the bigger the age gap, the more likely it is that you can prove you
were terminated based on your age. For example, Joe, a 52-year-old car
salesman, worked for 13 years at a dealership. His employer fired him
without reason and replaced him shortly after with a 27-year-old woman
with the same if not less experience than Joe. Based on this set of
facts, Joe could potentially prove that he was fired based on his age.
Alternatively, let's say instead of Joe being replaced by the 27
year-old, he was fired and replaced by a 39-year old. Although Joe's
replacement is still younger than he is, the age gap is not as
significant as the one between him and the 27-year-old replacement. Joe
may still have a claim, but his claim is stronger in the first scenario
because there is evidence to support an inference that he was fired
because of his age.
- You were qualified for the position
you were qualified for the position but were fired anyway, this could
demonstrate you were fired because of your age and for no other reason.
For example, if Beth, 43-years old, worked as a receptionist for a
talent agency and was let go from her position. During her meeting with
HR and her boss, she was told the company was going in a different
direction and needed to hire someone with more experience. Soon after,
Beth was replaced by a significantly younger employee who had the same
skills, if not less than Beth. Here, Beth could use these facts to
potentially prove that she was fired based on her age for two reasons:
1) she had the skills required for the position and they fired and
replaced her with someone who did not have more skills than she had and
2) the employee who replaced Beth was significantly younger. Of course,
it is also important to note again that Beth is 43-years-old so again
she meets the initial element of age discrimination. Beth would likely
need to have an Age Discrimination Attorney present some evidence
showing her age was a factor in the decision replace her. An example
would be if her boss made a comment along the lies of "we need young
blood in this department" would suffice.
- Your boss made comments or jokes about your age
jokes, remarks, or name calling in regards to age, made by an employer
or a supervisor to an employee 40 years of age or older is considered discriminatory behavior.
Name calling may include titles such as "Old fart", "Pops", or "Ole'
goat". These nicknames used to reference an employee is considered
offensive and directly attacks their age. Even jokes that may seem
harmless to the teller are still considered discriminatory when
commenting on someone's age. For example, An employee turns 50 and her
boss says "you know you're getting old when the candles cost more than
the cake". Here, this may seem harmless, but depending on the
circumstances it could lead to contacting an Age Discrimination
- Other employees your age were also fired
before or after you were fired from your job, you know of other
employees whom were fired and who were also under the protected age,
that may bolster your age discrimination claim because it establishes a
pattern of discriminatory behavior.
- You were treated differently compared to other employees
employers use certain tactics to discriminate against employees in more
subtle ways such as treating them differently compared to other
employees who are under 40 years of age. Although subtle, they
deliberately play favorites and purposely treat the older employee(s) in
a disadvantageous manner.
- Your employer made changes or additions to the company policy to push you out based on your age
up to your termination, if your employer tried to create a divide
between your age and the rest of the employees who were younger by
characterizing you as belonging to a certain age group, that may be
considered discriminatory. Another example would be if the employer
actively took steps to keep you from obtaining employee benefits or
- The decision to fire you was specifically motivated by age
may be demonstrated through making it a company policy to force
employees to retire at a certain age. Another example would be if an
employer fired an employee because the company insurance policy would
cost more to cover the employee because of their age.
- Things got worse after you made a complaint
say before you were fired, you noticed you were being singled-out based
on your age and you made a complaint to HR. Soon after you complained
you were demoted to a lower paying position or even fired. This would be
a form of retaliation because you made a complaint about unlawful
behavior and in response your employer essentially punished you. Showing
that you were retaliated against for complaining of being singled out
based on your age may strengthen a claim for age discrimination.
- Your age was the reason given for firing you
it may seem obvious, it is important to note that if an employer fires
you specifically because of your age, that is age discrimination.
However, you must prove the main reason you were fired was because of
your age. For example, if you were late several times to work, were
caught stealing office supplies, you lied on your time-card, and your
boss said: "Get your old saggy butt outta here, you're fired grandma!".
Here, yes this employer may have an issue with your age and made
offensive comments regarding your age, but it may not be considered the
leading cause of your termination. Alternatively, if your boss sat you
down and told you "I can't keep you on the team, we need a more youthful
perspective on the project and you are just too old", that is an example of age being the direct or leading cause of your termination.