Are Employees Under 40 Able to File Age-Based Discrimination Claims in California?

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young employee facing age-based discrimination

As an employer, you have a lot of responsibilities to your clients and employees. Not only do you need to ensure your business runs smoothly, but you also need to create and foster a safe and healthy work environment for your employees, regardless of their age. However, if you have a younger employee who has not moved up the ladder as quickly as they hoped, they may begin to stir up trouble. If you have an employee who is accusing you of age-based discrimination, a Los Angeles County, California employment attorney can help you navigate these claims and protect the reputation of your business.

What Is Age-Based Discrimination?

Age-based discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer or manager refuses to hire, promote, or give more responsibility to an employee based on their age. Traditionally, age discrimination affects the employment opportunities of older adults.

For example, if two contenders apply for the same job, a manager may choose the younger, less qualified candidate over an older, more competent person. Their reasoning may be that older employees are too close to retirement age to be “worth” hiring.

Can Younger Employees File a Claim?

If you have a younger employee who is threatening to file an age-based discrimination claim against your company, you may begin to panic. However, they will not be able to do so. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, only employers over 40 are eligible to file an age discrimination claim.

In other states, like New York, states have their own laws that prevent discrimination regardless of age. However, California does not protect against reverse-age discrimination.

It is essential to note, however, that this does not give employers the right to patronize, harass, or belittle an employee just because they are younger. For example, if you pass them over for a managerial position in favor of an older, less-qualified employee and then tell them it’s because they don’t look old enough for the job, you risk a different kind of lawsuit. This can result in a hostile work environment or harassment claim.

Can an Attorney Help?

If an employee threatens you with an age discrimination claim, regardless of how old they are, reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible is essential. Even if the claim seems baseless or unenforceable, this claim could escalate into a different lawsuit. Having the help of an experienced lawyer on your side is essential to avoiding claims from harming the reputation of your company.

When you need an attorney who will fight for your business, the Lee Law Offices is ready to help. Our experienced attorneys will do everything possible to help ensure that your company can proceed with business as usual. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case with a seasoned lawyer to learn how we can help you.