As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, most Los Angeles, California, employees who are over the age of 40 enjoy special protections under both federal and state law. These protections, collectively, prohibit employers from engaging in age discrimination, which involves firing someone or taking other adverse actions simply because they are older.
However, the trick is proving that a person over 40 got terminated, disciplined or otherwise treated in a way they didn't like because of his or her age as opposed to some other, valid reason. Most employers, after all, know the law well enough to realize that it is not a good idea to go around openly admitting that they prefer younger workers and will take steps to get rid of older ones.
There are certain warning signs an aging worker should be on the lookout for, as they may be the first indicator that a firm is running afoul of the law. On a broader level, one needs to be aware of the business's overall culture and, especially, their hiring practices.
If it seems like there is an influx of more youthful workers while there are layoffs and other types of workforce reductions going on that affect older workers, it could be a sign of age discrimination. Likewise, if the company's culture celebrates youth but tolerates comments about how so-and-so should really retire, age discrimination may be afoot.
With respect to how an employee gets treated herself, usually the first warning signs of age discrimination are actions that do not really seem hostile. For example, no one is promised a raise, so it's hard to say not getting one after receiving them for years is really a punishment. Still, the unexplained end to periodic raises is a warning.
Likewise, a person should take note if, without an explanation, one's performance evaluations suddenly get lower. While it is relatively easy for a boss to find something an employee can improve on and note it, employees don't generally go from above average to barely making the cut in one year.
Those people who have been victims of age discrimination should consider getting the help of an experienced employment law attorney in the Los Angeles area.