13 Facts You Should Know About age Discrimination
Silvia Stanciu, one of the New York City employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates, was interviewed about workplace age discrimination by Downtown Magazine. Like the other litigators at Phillips & Associates, Ms. Stanciu is dedicated to fighting against workplace discrimination. She handles lawsuits arising from situations in which employers fail to meet their legal obligations toward their employees.
Ms. Stanciu explained to the magazine that age discrimination involves adverse treatment of a job applicant or employee due to his or her age. Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is illegal to discriminate against an employee who is at least 40 years old based on his or her age with regard to termination, hiring, promotions, compensation, layoffs, training, benefits, or job assignments.
She also discussed how you know that you have a claim for age discrimination. Sometimes it can be challenging to know whether you have been a victim of age discrimination. Often, there are clues in how you are treated by your coworkers or supervisors. If they often ask you when you will retire, mention needing to hire fresh blood, or recite sayings such as "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," you may be experiencing age-based harassment. You may have a claim for age discrimination if your supervisor forces you to retire or terminates you based on your age, or if you are passed up for promotions or earn much less than colleagues who are under age 40.
Ms. Stanciu also discussed the practice of employers attempting to save money by giving higher-earning older employees unmanageable workloads. This is a tactic used to push an older employee to resign on their own, and then replace them with younger employees who earn less.
Ms. Stanciu also discussed the practice of denying raises to older workers. She explained that unless your employment contract includes a provision for scheduled raises, your employer can provide a raise or not at its discretion. However, your employer cannot withhold a raise due to your age, and it cannot retaliate against you for complaining about age discrimination by withholding a scheduled raise or bonus. You should keep track of your raises. If you stop receiving yearly raises after you turn 40, while younger coworkers continue to receive regular raises, you may have a viable claim for age discrimination.
Ms. Stanciu advised employees to document incidents that they believe show age discrimination in the workplace. When an employee is older and notices that they and other older employees are the only ones being harassed, excluded from company meetings, or laid off, it may be appropriate to contact Human Resources to complain. Registering a complaint may assist you with pursuing legal remedies later. An employer is not permitted to fire you because you complained about age discrimination, but the employer might fire you for that reason. If so, you may have a basis for an age discrimination lawsuit and a retaliation claim.
Ms. Stanciu also discussed a common concern of workers with families who may not be comfortable joining work functions that involve drinking or attending clubs while out of state. It can be uncomfortable to decline these invitations, and many workers fear that they cannot decline and keep their jobs. Ms. Stanciu suggested that workers in this position should tell their employers that they are uncomfortable with extreme drinking and partying situations. A casual remark about your failure to drink may not be actionable. However, if your coworkers or supervisor harass you for your refusal to go out to night events by calling you "antiquated" or "old school," there may be a viable age discrimination claim.
Ms. Stanciu is an experienced and dedicated employment litigator at Phillips & Associates. You can find more of her informative interview here. If you believe that you may have been a victim of age discrimination at your job, you should consult our firm. You can contact Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form. We handle employment litigation in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey.
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