With an economy that is anything but certain, many Californians - as well as those across the country - are postponing retirement and working at older ages. Consequently, it is not uncommon for age discrimination situations to appear as more and more people of various stages of life compete for scarce jobs. Fortunately, the law protects most California workers age 40 and older from employers who discriminate because of age.
Specifically, California has the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which prohibits various types of discrimination in various areas, from employment to housing. The Act forbids age discrimination in many employment-related situations, although there are some exceptions. In today's diverse working environment, where a worker may have more than one boss, it can be difficult to figure out which employer is covered by which law. What employers are covered under California's FEHA?
In general, any employer who has five or more workers is covered by the FEHA. This includes private employers as well as state and local government, although government employees are covered regardless of how many workers their employer has. Additional entities are covered as well, including employment agencies, labor organizations and programs offering apprenticeships.
In some situations, religious organizations may be exempt from elements of the FEHA. Still, age discrimination can be a complicated issue and obtaining legal advice may be a paramount need. Knowing one's civil rights is the first step in any age discrimination complaint and consulting with a California employment law attorney can drastically increase one's understanding of employers' responsibilities in the Golden State.
Source: California Office of the Attorney General, "Chapter 2 - Employment," accessed Dec. 27, 2015