age-descriminationThe signs might be subtle: Invitations to collaborate are no longer forthcoming; solid performance reviews suddenly turn negative; new tasks and demands seem unreasonable.

Each can be signs of age discrimination—something more and more older workers are experiencing as companies force older workers out of their jobs.

How many workers? Age discrimination claims have been on the rise since 1997, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that 15,785 reports were filed. Last year, 21,396 claims were recorded.

One possible reason for the trend: an aging population. More than 20 percent of workers in the United States, some 33 million, are age 55 and up, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Federal and California State Laws Protect Aging Workers

Under federal law, age discrimination in employment is prohibited under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the law states that it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against employees over 40 years of age in all aspects of employment—from recruitment and hiring to layoff or termination.

Meanwhile, California law also prohibits age discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Enforced by the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), this law applies to city, county, and state public employers and government agencies, as well as private employers, labor organizations, apprenticeship programs, and employment agencies.

What sets these two laws apart?

It comes down to coverage: The ADEA covers all employers who have at least 20 employees or are:

● Employment agencies
● The federal government
● State and local government (though remedies are often limited)
● Labor organizations with at least 25 members

Alternatively, the California FEHA applies to employers with a minimum of five employees, and includes specific provisions.

Aside from the California State laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees in all aspects of employment, it also states that employers should provide reasonable accommodation to those with disabling conditions—workplace adjustments required for any differently-abled employee to perform his or her job normally.

Finally, California employment agencies covered by the FEHA are not allowed to screen applicants and publish job advertisements based on age, and must refuse job orders if asked to discriminate against applicants on the basis of age.

Have You Experienced Age Discrimination In California?
If you have been the victim of age bias at your place of work, you should not hesitate to talk to an age discrimination lawyer in California about your situation and your rights. Judging older workers on the basis of age rather than abilities is wrong, and age discrimination can have devastating effects on your financial security into retirement.

To learn more about how an attorney from our team can help protect your workplace rights, contact Henk Leonard Law Firm by calling (916) 787-4544 to request a consultation.