New York Age Discrimination Lawyer
What Does ADEA Stand For?
If you are an employee who is over the age of 40, the law protects you from age-based employment discrimination. New York State laws and the New York City Human Rights Law protect older employees, as does the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) amended the ADEA in 1990 and offers even more rigorous protections for older workers. For example, under the OWBPA, employers may not exclude older employees from benefits offered to younger workers.
What Does Age Discrimination Look Like?
The law does not require a "smoking gun" to confirm age discrimination in the workplace. Our courts have frequently held that employment discrimination can be established with circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is less than direct evidence, which includes witnesses or written proof. Circumstantial evidence involves making reasonable inferences based on the proof available.
There will never be a memorandum written by management saying, "let's get rid of the older people." However, there will likely be ample circumstantial evidence. One example would be if a company were to fire 12 people over the age of 40 and replace them with 12 people younger than 40 years of age. It is at that point one might make a reasonable inference, based on the circumstantial proof available, that this particular company had a hostility toward older employees and may be engaging in the practice of age discrimination. In the field of employment law, circumstantial evidence can be very powerful in protecting the rights of employees in the workplace.
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 New York about your situation and your rights. Age discrimination can be very subtle, so if you have a feeling that your employee rights have been violated, it is wise to talk to a lawyer.
The following are some examples of age-based employment discrimination:
- Pressuring an older employee to retire whether by constantly asking when he or she plans to do so or by threatening to fire the employee if he or she does not retire
- Forcing an older employee to retire
- Cutting older employees with the highest salaries before younger employees
- Promoting a younger person rather than the older worker
- Making comments about wanting "fresh faces" or "youthful energy" in the office
- Refusing to hire an otherwise qualified employee based on his or her age
- The boss consistently socializes with younger workers or gives them the best job opportunities, or otherwise displays a preference against older employees
- Not permitting an older employee to learn new skills or attend training
What to Do If You Are Facing Age Discrimination
- Speak up - Your claims will be difficult to back if you never say anything about it to anyone. Let your employer know what is going on and that you do not welcome the behavior. If your employer is the one harassing or mistreating you, you may want to consider bringing the matter to the attention of their supervisor or the human resources (HR) division of your company.
- Be serious - You can request that your employer make an official written report every time you encounter discrimination. You can also tell them that you expect there to be an investigation into the matter regarding what you have told them.
- Create a log - Any time you feel like you are being harassed due to your age, jot down the details of the event as soon as you can. Include time, date, location, people who were there, what was said, etc. Later, if your entries coincide with another’s investigation, you will have created powerful evidence that can be used to your advantage.
- Gather documentation - If you can get physical copies of anything that hints towards the age discrimination you are dealing with, hold onto them. This includes obtaining a copy of your company’s employee handbook, specifically the anti-discrimination section. If this section does not exist, this may raise a red flag.
Lastly, you should always retain a professional attorney as soon as possible. Once you get one of our New York employment discrimination lawyers from Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP on your side, you can enjoy peace of mind in knowing that a highly-experienced and genuinely compassionate legal advocate is there to protect your rights on your behalf.
Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP is one of the oldest employment discrimination law firms in New York. We are committed to protecting our clients and we know how to aggressively promote their rights. To learn more about us or to schedule a consultation, contact Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP today.
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