California employees are protected from discrimination based on their age at both the federal and state level. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, is a federal law that protects employees age 40 and older from discrimination in pre-employment and employment activities. Some states have further age discrimination protections that are even stricter than the ADEA regarding employer treatment of older employees.
Employees in the public and private sectors are granted numerous rights regarding their employment status and treatment by their organization. Many of these protections are in place to ensure basic rights are provided to all employees, while others have the intent of protecting employees that bring awareness to violations and non-compliance of their organization, whether the company is doing so purposely or by mistake.
Employees are protected by federal law from discrimination and retaliation for asserting their protected rights. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides such a right, allowing employees to take a certain amount of unpaid leave from work, while requiring their employer to hold their job, or an equivalent position, until they return. If an employer fails to provide an employee with this leave or punishes them for using the protected leave, they may be in violation of law.
Details continue to emerge regarding the termination from employment of the former Chief Technology Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of California. The former employee alleges that he was wrongfully terminated from his position for criticizing a contract agreed to by the company's CIO, his supervisor. He alleges that he repeatedly recommended an alternative plan that would have saved the organization $3 million dollars but was asked to cease discussing the issue by the CIO. He has also pointed out that his firing occurred one day before he was due a $450,000 bonus.