California job applicants and employees enjoy protection against age discrimination in both state and federal laws. These laws make it illegal for an employer to deny or terminate a worker’s employment for reasons based on age. It is also unlawful to demote or deny a promotion to employees because they are older than other workers.
Examples of age discrimination
The Fair Employment and Housing Act sets forth the employment law that governs age discrimination laws in California. Employers in the state with five or more workers fall under the jurisdiction of the FEHA. Examples of age discrimination include:
- Encouraging older workers to retire
- Laying off older workers for “poor performance” evaluations
- Age-shaming in the workplace
- Preferential hiring practices for younger applicants
Hollywood case study
A lawsuit filed by a 45-year-old piracy investigator working for the Motion Picture Association alleges that he lost his job because of his age. The investigator feels that his termination was part of an ongoing pattern in which workers in his department were forced from their positions once they neared middle ages.
The plaintiff says he worked for the MPA for 18 years and held a position as a senior internet investigator when he lost his job in August of 2020. The plaintiff says his downward spiral within the company began in 2017 when the association hired a new person to head their global content production department. The investigator explains he always received good evaluations before his new boss took over.
The plaintiff says the real problems for him began with an unjustified demotion. He says his reassignment included duties for which he possessed no training. The plaintiff also reports mistreatment in the workplace. He says that he complained to human resources, and the work environment became worse for him. The problem continued until he received a letter of termination alleging poor performance.
Individuals facing age discrimination in the workplace often do not know where to turn for help. The feelings of helplessness and betrayal cut deep because many victims spend their “best years” working for the company responsible for the discrimination. Individuals who face age discrimination in the workplace may benefit from a conversation with an attorney about their legal options.