Age Discrimination Attorney for Ohio Employees
Older workers have the right to be judged on their performance and ability—not on their age. If you are over 40 and have been fired, denied a promotion, or otherwise discriminated against because of your age, talk to an experienced age discrimination attorney to protect yourself.
Recognizing that older workers are often at a disadvantage in keeping a job—and particularly in finding new employment after losing a job—in 1967, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. With the ADEA, Congress sought to “promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age . . . [and] to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment.” 29 U.S.C. § 621(b). Ohio has similar laws banning age discrimination in employment, which are found in Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code.
The most obvious examples of unlawful age discrimination are firing or refusing to hire employees because they are over 40. But Ohio and federal law also prohibit discriminating against employees because of their age with respect to any aspect of employment. That means employers may not use age as a basis for harassment, demotion, denial of promotion, pay cuts, unfavorable job assignments, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Ohio and federal law also ban retaliation against employees who report suspected discrimination.
What are signs of age discrimination?
Although there are many potential signs of age discrimination, there are a few particularly common ones:
- Ageist comments. Comments about an employee’s age, especially when made close to a negative job action. It would not be uncommon in age discrimination cases to hear an employee called “grandpa,” asked about retirement, or told he is “too slow.” Comments about wanting a “fresh” image in the workplace, or other coded statements suggesting a preference for younger workers, could also be evidence.
- Holding older employees to higher standards. In one of our cases, we represented a successful sales representative at a major pharmaceutical company. Although his sales were just as good as his younger coworkers, and even though his customers loved him, the company fired him. We sued for age discrimination and won a unanimous $986,605.21 verdict on his behalf.
- Older workers being forced out. Evidence that the employer is forcing out older workers or hiring only younger workers can be another sign of age discrimination at the workplace.
- More favorable treatment of younger employees. Giving younger employees better assignments or more training than older employees could be evidence of discrimination. Similarly, if younger employees are given lesser discipline or otherwise treated more favorably than older employees, discrimination might be occurring. It is important to note that the “younger” employee need not be under 40, as long as he or she is substantially younger than the plaintiff.
Evidence of age discrimination doesn’t hide in only these places of course. And not every employment decision that affects an older worker is illegal. There are a several technical legal defenses companies will try to use to dodge responsibility. The best way to hold employers accountable is with help from a respected age discrimination lawyer.
Attorneys for ADEA cases
To pursue an age discrimination case, an employee can’t simply go straight to court. The employee must instead first file a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The time limit for doing so is short and strict; an employee who waits too long will permanently lose the right to sue. To make sure the Charge contains everything it should (and nothing it shouldn’t), it’s wise to first talk to an experienced age discrimination attorney.
There are also special rules that apply when employees over 40 are offered severance packages in exchange for waiving their rights. Before an age discrimination waiver is valid, the employer must:
- Provide a waiver of rights in clear, written language that can be easily understood by the employee.
- Specifically refer to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
- Give the employee something of value, for instance, severance pay the employee would not otherwise get.
- Tell the employee in writing to consult with an attorney.
- Give the employee at least 21 days to consider the waiver and then 7 days to change his or her mind after signing. If the employee is being offered severance as part of a group layoff, the employee is entitled to 45 days instead of 21.
Experienced age discrimination lawyer
Every age discrimination attorney at Bolek Besser Glesius has extensive experience helping employees over 40 who have been fired or crowded out of their jobs to make room for younger employees. Call us today.