How Do You Know if You Committed Age Discrimination in California?

Contact Us

age discrimination california

You had no choice but to fire an older employee or else turn down an older job applicant. Now he or she has turned around and accused you and your California business of age discrimination. But do their claims have any merit? For more information on the nature of age discrimination, please continue reading, then contact an experienced Los Angeles discrimination defense attorney soon. Some questions you may have include:

What constitutes age discrimination in California?

Both the Golden State’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) provide protections for employees forty years of age and older. In essence, an employee receiving less favorable treatment in the workplace due to his or her age constitutes age discrimination. But as you may have deduced, that definition is rather vague. Complicating matters for employees, FEHA and ADEA do not protect all employees.

Who qualifies for protection under FEHA and ADEA?

While practically every employee receives protection from FEHA’s anti-harassment provisions, its anti-discrimination provisions only apply to employers with five or more full-time or part-time employees.

ADEA, on the other hand, only applies to the following entities:

  • Companies with at least twenty employees
  • Labor organizations with at least twenty-five members
  • Employment agencies
  • Federal, local and state governments

How do you know if you are engaging in age discrimination in CA?

As alluded to above, neither state nor federal statute provides a detailed description of what constitutes age discrimination. However, some of the most commonly-cited examples include the following:

  • Not hiring an applicant due to age
  • Laying off an employee due to age
  • Forcing an employee to take early retirement
  • Reducing or denying an employee certain benefits
  • Retaliating against an employee for filing a claim
  • Harassing an employee due to age

How do you defend against an age discrimination lawsuit in CA?

In order for a judge or jury to award them financial compensation, a plaintiff must prove their claim by a preponderance of the evidence. This includes establishing these elements:

  1. The plaintiff was forty years of age or older
  2. The plaintiff’s job performance was satisfactory
  3. The defendant took an adverse job action against the plaintiff, and
  4. The defendant treated similarly situated, substantially younger employees more favorably

In turn, you and your skilled Los Angeles County, California employment attorney might argue any or all of the following:

  • You terminated the employee in accordance with California’s employment-at-will law and not because of their age
  • The plaintiff was unable to perform his or her job duties safely and efficiently, or
  • The younger employees’ education, skills and work experience justify a higher wage

Our firm is here to help you, so please give us a call today.


If you need legal representation in an employment-, commercial- or church-related dispute, contact Lee Law Offices today.