With retirement a challenge for many in California, more and more workers may be remaining on the job indefinitely. Consequently, age discrimination is a serious concern in today's uncertain economy. There are key laws related to age discrimination in the modern workplace. These may be of interest to those who are unfamiliar with the topic or believe they may have been a victim of this type of damaging discrimination.
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.
Workplaces in California, and across the country, have a responsibility to treat their workers fairly and to not discriminate against any employees based on their membership in a federally protected class. These classes include race, gender, religion and age.
Discriminating against or harassing an employee or group of employees is prohibited by federal law if it is based on a person's status as a member of a protected class. There are various federally protected groups that the government seeks to protect from discrimination in the workplace. These classes include religion, ethnicity, sex, disability, and age, among others.
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.
Age-based legal protections are provided by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which provides rights to those forty and over regarding discriminatory activities by employers. These protections are provided not only to current employees, but also extend to those applying for jobs.
A receptionist for a Northern California law firm was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2008. When the time came to enroll in health insurance for 2009, the cancer, combined with the fact that she was turning 60, meant a staggering increase in her health insurance premium -- and for that of the small firm. The firm had an insurance broker convince her to choose a cheaper plan.
Employees in California are terminated for a variety of reasons every year, but are some employees fired for illegal reasons? Discrimination unfortunately plays a role in some employment terminations, and reports show that age discrimination claims continue to increase as the working population gets older in the United States.
Two highly-paid engineers for a Woodland Hills defense contractor were frog-marched out of their offices and fired because they refused to lie to the Navy about potentially dangerous flaws in guided missiles the company was providing for the military, they claim in a recent lawsuit. They also believe their firings were partially motivated by age discrimination.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination claims are on the rise. The Baby Boom generation began reaching age 60 last year, and they appear to be suffering in the job market. The EEOC says that age-related discrimination claims jumped from 16,548 in 2006 to 22,857 in 2012.