If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work based on your age, you need to act fast to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Age discrimination is illegal; the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) offers protection for employees and job applicants aged 40 and above from discrimination on the basis of their age, but there is a limited time to file a claim so it is very important to act quickly. In order to receive a favorable outcome in your age discrimination, it is imperative that you gather together as much evidence as possible surrounding the discrimination that took place.
Disparate Treatment in Regards to Age
“Disparate treatment” is an example of illegal age discrimination in United States federal labor laws. When a claim of disparate treatment is filed, the assertion is that the employer singled out one or more employees based on their age. The employee or potential employee’s age should be the primary motivating factor in the unfair treatment.
Age Discrimination Evidence to Gather
The most important component in an age discrimination lawsuit is evidence. It’s very important to gather as much evidence as possible to prove that a violation took place.
The best form of evidence in an age discrimination lawsuit is direct evidence that proves you were fired on the basis of your age. This kind of evidence can include statements from parties involved that prove that decisions to terminate employment were based on age. It can also include examples of conduct from supervisors that demonstrate a preference to younger workers.
You can also compile a list of examples of age discrimination that took place on the job, including:
- Disparaging comments or age-related jokes
- Offensive emails
- Examples of being turned down for promotions that were given to younger workers with less experience or fewer qualifications
- A pattern of promoting younger workers over older workers.
If you have copies of your yearly job performance evaluation, this will help demonstrate your experience and the fact that someone younger and less experienced was promoted instead of you. This is very important because it shows that you were eligible for a promotion but that the promotion was given to someone younger despite your experience and solid job performance.
The more evidence you can provide to support that age discrimination took place, both direct and circumstantial, the better your chances of winning your age discrimination case. In addition to having a short window to file your claim, it’s important to gather statements as soon as possible from coworkers who might have witnessed the discrimination so that the events in question are fresh in their minds.
How to File an Age Discrimination Lawsuit
It’s important to start gathering your evidence immediately after the offense took place because there are time limits to file your age discrimination lawsuit. The general rule of thumb is that you have 180 calendar days to file your claim after the date the discrimination took pace. Some states offer additional protection when it comes to age discrimination claims, and in those cases the filing deadline is extended to 300 days if the state law prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of age and there is a state agency that enforces the law. If there are only laws at the city or local level against age discrimination, then the extended deadline does no apply.
When you are ready to file your lawsuit, you need to be sure you have a claim on file with the EEOC prior to filing your lawsuit for age discrimination. Your claim can be filed online, in person at your local EEOC office or by mail.
How an Employee Rights Lawyer Can Help
The process of filing a claim with the EEOC and filing a lawsuit for age discrimination requires a great deal of documentation and paperwork. You might consider hiring an employee rights attorney to help with your case.
An employee rights attorney can help file the charge with the EEOC prior to filing the age discrimination lawsuit, and an attorney will also know which evidence needs to be collected and whether the information you have is enough to move forward or if you need to gather additional information.
Fill out a free case evaluation form to have your case submitted to an attorney who handles employment law in your area. Some employment lawyers work on a contingency basis so that you only pay them if you win your case or they might work for an hourly rate. You should confirm the fee structure in advance.