In the state of California, it’s often illegal to make an employment decision based solely on an employee’s age. This is especially true if an employee is over the age of 40. In most cases, covered individuals are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) from the moment that they apply for a job.
What might be perceived as age discrimination?
There are many actions that an employer might take that could be considered a violation of age discrimination laws. For instance, failing to adequately market a job opening to potential candidates over the age of 40 may expose a company to civil penalties. Failing to offer job training, raises or other benefits offered to younger workers may also run afoul of state or federal laws.
Actions may be discriminatory even if they appear to apply to all
Let’s say that a company terminates a group of workers who are all over the age of 40 on the basis that it is looking to downsize. The fact that it also terminated workers under the age of 40 doesn’t necessarily mean that a company’s actions did not violate employment laws. For instance, wrongful termination may occur if older workers were forced to take early retirement while younger employees were given an opportunity to remain at a lower salary.
If you believe that you have been the victim of age discrimination at work, it may be possible to take legal action against your employer. This entity may be required to offer back pay and other types of compensation to help you recoup losses related to an improper termination. This may also be the case if you are demoted, are forced to take a pay cut or otherwise incur a financial loss solely because of your age.