If there was one thing you could say about the would-be worker, it’s that he’s been persistent. The 49-year-old, who has been trying to secure a job with the city of Burbank for four years now, has applied for a total of 11 positions.
So far, he’s reportedly been turned down for nine of those, while his applications for the two other posts are pending.
In a recent California age discrimination lawsuit, the 49-year-old applicant claims he has been turned down because of his age.
The first time he attempted to land a job was back in 2009, when he applied to become an engineering technician. However, he was denied, according to the city, because he failed to take a college algebra course, which would have been a requirement for the position. But with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cal State Los Angeles, his algebra course requirement was fulfilled while he was still in high school.
The city said that he didn’t get the job because there had been several hundred applicants, with many of those meeting more than the minimum requirements for both education and experience.
Then in 2010, this same employee applied for a position as an electrical apprentice. There was no question with this post that he was fully qualified. He went in for an interview. He passed both a written and physical exam. However, at some point during the interview, his photograph was taken. This, he claims, was used to discriminate against him, a Hispanic with salt-and-pepper hair.
With 10 years of field experience in the construction industry, he said he was not hired in numerous other attempts for the same or similar positions. Instead, those jobs went to individuals who were in their 20s, who had considerably less education and experience than he did.
As a result, he’s seeking $15 million in damages.
He may have a strong case, though age discrimination cases can be tough to prove – particularly in the wake of the 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gross v. FBL (which some lawmakers are working to have repealed).
Age discrimination in California is only going to become more and more common, as workers are staying in the workforce longer than ever as a result of longer lifespans and financial hardships that are forcing them to postpone retirement. A positive outcome in any case is going to require proper planning.
The first thing you want to do is get everything in writing. While it is all fresh in your memory, write down dates, locations and any witnesses who may be able to substantiate your claims. Even if you never end up filing a case, having this can be valuable just in case. Not having it could be fatal to your case.
The second thing you want to do is gather up all documentation that may support your claim. For example, maybe you know that all the best territories are going to younger workers or that disciplinary action or layoffs have been far more focused on older workers. Any records, e-mails, memos or messages that might back up this claim should be collected and copied. Make sure those documents are in a safe place so your employer can’t confiscate them, especially if you are fired and are forced to immediately leave the premises.
Also, if you think you might be targeted for age harassment, be very careful with your work. If you give them some other reason to terminate you, it may end up killing your claim. Make sure your attendance is stellar, your work product is in top condition and your boss has no other reason to take negative action against you.
Finally, meet with a lawyer. This is the first step to filing a case, but an initial consultation can give you a good indication of whether you have a case or if you still need to gather some more evidence to proceed.
Costa Mesa employment lawsuits can be filed with the help of the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Burbank Hit With Age and Race Discrimination Lawsuit, Oct. 1, 2013, y Alene Tchekmedyian, The Burbank Leader
More Blog Entries:
Workplace Race Discrimination Continues to be a Problem, Sept. 11, 2013, Costa Mesa Employment Lawyer Blog