Age Discrimination / by Daniel Velton

It is unlawful in California for an employer to harass or discriminate against employees who are of 40 years of age or older. For example, employers cannot discharge or refuse to hire an employee solely because of his or her age. Therefore, retirement or pension plans that require retirement at a specified age are typically unenforceable. Employees with the desire and ability to work must be allowed to do so beyond any retirement date contained in any private pension or retirement plan.

In the usual case, a reasonable inference of age discrimination arises when the employee shows: (1) at the time of the adverse action he or she was 40 years of age or older, (2) an adverse employment action was taken against the employee, (3) at the time of the adverse action the employee was satisfactorily performing his or her job and (4) the employee was replaced in his position by a significantly younger person (except where a reduction in force is involved). It is not necessary to show that the elderly employee was replaced by a younger worker. It is enough that significantly younger individuals were retained in similar jobs, or were reassigned to positions for which the elderly employee was also qualified, or otherwise treated more favorably. Even if the economic climate justifies a reduction in force, downsizing alone is not necessarily a sufficient excuse for dismissal of age-protected workers.

If you have been terminated based on your age, contact an age discrimination attorney at Velton Zegelman to discuss your legal options.