“Once layoffs were done by reverse seniority. It was last in, first out, so the more senior workers kept their jobs. Now we’re seeing a transition from the age of favoritism to that of age discrimination because newer workers are allowed to stay on while more costly, older workers are let go.” —Robert J. Gordon, Economics Professor, Northwestern University
“It’s infuriating that you spend so much time with a company, and give them your loyalty, only to be kicked to the curb because you are approaching retirement age in a few years.”
The problem is ageism — discrimination on the basis of age. A dumb and destructive obsession with youth so extreme that experience has become a liability. Age discrimination in employment is illegal, but two-thirds of older job seekers report encountering it. Employees between the ages of 46 and 65 (especially those nearing retirement age) are the most likely to be targeted. Those employees are often let go by employers who perceive them to be more expensive and less valuable than younger replacements.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) exists to protect individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA's protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment -- including, but not limited to, hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on age or for filing an age discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADEA.
Age discrimination cases can be challenging to prove and that is why so few lawyers accept such cases on behalf of employees. Fortunately, it has been our privilege to handle many such cases on behalf of former employees all the way through trial. We know what to look for and how to build a winning age discrimination case.
If you worked for a company for a number of years and believe you were terminated due to your age, we encourage you to contact us. We offer consultations and carefully evaluate each potential case. If we agree to file a case, it is because we are confident that discrimination has occurred, that our client should be compensated, and that the employer at fault should be held accountable.