Employment law here in the United States makes it illegal for employers to deny or limit the employment opportunities available to job applicants and employees based on their advanced age. Therefore, a worker who has been discriminated against in the workplace based on their age and, as a result, has suffered an adverse employment action (for example, has been denied employment, had their pay reduced, was refused employment benefits, had their hours cut, was terminated, etc.) can file an age discrimination claim if they are of qualifying age.
There are several different laws under which an age discrimination claim can be filed, but seeing as how the majority of these claims are filed under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This article provides a brief overview of how to pursue an age discrimination claim under the ADEA.
Pursuing an Age Discrimination Claim Under the ADEA
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 is a federal law that, in relevant part, makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee based on their age when said applicant or employee is 40 years old or older. To pursue an age discrimination claim under the ADEA you will need to jump through the following hoops:
- File an Administrative Complaint: First off, you will need to file an administrative complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After your complaint has been filed the EEOC will investigate the matter and, once they are finished, will issue a right-to-sue notice. However, you only have to wait 60 days from the date on which your administrative complaint was filed before you can legally file your lawsuit in court.
- File Your Lawsuit in Court: In a nutshell, filing your lawsuit in court involves drafting and submitting a legal document called a “complaint” which explains the grounds on which your age discrimination claim is based and listed the damages that you are seeking.
- Engage in Discovery: In preparation for going to trial, both parties to the lawsuit will engage in the discovery process, which involves both sides requesting information and asking questions of the other party.
- Attend Mediation: In most age discrimination cases the parties will voluntarily agree to attend mediation in an attempt to work out a settlement without the help of the court. If the parties can reach an agreement, then the age discrimination claim can be settled outside of court and will not go to trial.
- Go to Trial (if Necessary): If the parties either decide not to mediate or are unable to settle the claim outside of court then the matter will go to trial.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
It is important to note that workers are afforded protection against age discrimination under several different laws and that, consequently, a worker who is interested in filing an age discrimination claim often has the option of filing their claim under more than one law. Choosing which law to file under is vitally important and unfortunately can be quite challenging given the complexity of the applicable statutes. But don’t worry, an experienced age discrimination lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and determine how it would be most beneficial to pursue your claim. If you are interested in discussing a potential age discrimination claim you should contact a work discrimination lawyer from a law firm like Davie & Valdez, P.C. for help.