Two years after an initial complaint alleging age discrimination, a state records office has agreed to settle with a former applicant for $60,000. Plaintiff alleged the records office in Pennsylvania refused to hire him because he was 55 when he sought an appeals officer position.
The complaint was filed with assistance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after the attorney, formerly employed by the Human Relations Commission for nearly two decades, sought a spot with the state records division.
In the midst of the interview, the director openly expressed concern that plaintiff would soon be retiring. A woman who had just turned 40 was later hired for the post, according to PennLive.com.
As noted by the EEOC and explained by our Los Angeles employment attorneys, age discrimination occurs when an applicant or employee is treated less favorably on the basis of his or her older age. It’s only applicable to those over 40 (age discrimination against younger employees isn’t actionable). Some examples of age discrimination include:
- An employer refusing to hire you;
- Verbal abuse/ harassment;
- Public shaming;
- An employer refuses to promote you;
- An employer refuses you additional training;
- An employer demotes you;
- An employer lays you off;
- An employer fires you.
If any of these actions occur after your employer and/ or co-workers referred to you in ageist terms, you may have a case. A big question will be not so much whether unfavorable action was taken against you as whether age was the reason, which is why we often must highlight the disparate treatment between the older employer and younger workers in the same workplace. In this case, plaintiff alleged the woman who was hired instead of him was not only 15 years younger, she was significantly less qualified for the job.
In this case, the EEOC accused employer of making a negative employment-related decision solely on the basis of claimant’s age, which is in violation of the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, a federal statute that protects workers in California as well.
A representative with the state records office conceded a settlement had been reached, but insisted that should not be construed as an admission of wrongdoing or age discrimination. He said the incident, which occurred in 2009, happened “so long ago” that no current staff has any recollection of it. The representative said the state agreed to settle rather than invest in what would likely be a long and expensive court. Still, other state officials in court filings denied the negative employment action was a result of ageism. A former director in the division said there had been a number of other hires during his tenure were of people between the ages of 40 and 64, and that the reason he wasn’t hired was due to a poor reference.
Age discrimination cases in California are likely to increase in the years ahead, as baby boomers are living and working longer. If you believe you may have suffered discrimination by an employer or potential employer on the basis of your age in violation of state or federal statutes, we can help explore the validity of your claim.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
$60K deal ends age discrimination lawsuit against Pa. Office of Open Records, July 24, 2017, By Matt Miller, PennLive.com
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