California law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. Government Code §§12940 and 12941. Like the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) bars discrimination against individuals over the age of 40. Government Code §12926(b). But the FEHA provides more remedies than does federal law. For example, California law allows recovery for emotional distress and punitive damages, with no statutory limit on damage awards.
It is generally unlawful under the FEHA to do any of the following on the basis of a person’s age:
- refuse to hire or employ the person;
- refuse to select the person for a training program leading to employment;
- bar or discharge the person from employment or from a training program leading to employment;
- discriminate against the person in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
California also prohibits the use of salary as a basis for differentiating between employees when terminating employment. Government Code §12941. An employee may succeed on a claim of age discrimination by proving that the employer used salary as a basis for termination and the employer’s use of salary adversely affected older employees. While the statute limits itself to addressing salary, other differences between younger and older workers, such as promotions and benefits, may be challenged as age discrimination under the FEHA as well.
FEHA also prohibits mandatory retirement ages, even in bona fide private pension or retirement plans. Employees who wish to work beyond any retirement date and express this wish to the employer must be allowed to do so beyond the date provided for in their respective pension or retirement plans. Government Code §12942.
For age discrimination, you must be able to prove the following pursuant to California’s FEHA:
- You are forty years of age or older;
- Your age was a factor considered by your employer in your hiring, termination, or possible promotion; and that
- Younger employees in the same or similar situation and/or with the same experience are being treated more favorably and winning out on a job or promotion.
Age discrimination is prevalent in the workplace and is usually disguised by the employer to appear as a performance issue or some other problem leading to an employee’s termination due to his or her age.
The California Employment Law Attorneys of Terry K. Davis evaluate age discrimination cases on a regular basis, and it is unfortunate that so many hardworking individuals are being discriminated against because of their age.
Age discrimination not only causes potential financial harm to an employee, but it can also cause emotional or even physical harm if an employee was injured in the workplace due to an act of age discrimination. Regardless of what type of age discrimination you or a loved one experienced, it is important to act quickly by speaking with a truly skilled Employment Law Attorney.