Long Island Age Discrimination
The population for Suffolk County on Long Island was 1.5 million people as of 2012, and of these people, 14.5% were 65 years old or older. The population of Nassau County was 1.3 million people, and 15.8% of these people were 65 years old or older. Age discrimination occurs when an employer makes employment decisions because of your age rather than merit. Under federal law, only people who are age 40 or older are considered to have a viable claim for age discrimination. However, state law permits claims by employees who are younger. At Phillips & Associates, our Long Island age discrimination lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages. Call today for a free consultation with one of our employment attorneys. We are a Long Island contingency law firm, which means there are no attorney fees unless we recover. Call us today at (516)-365-3731.Age Discrimination Laws
If you apply to a job or work for a company with at least 20 employees, it is covered by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The employer is not allowed to base its employment decisions on your being 40 or older. The law protects people who are at least 40, but it does not prohibit age discrimination against employees who are younger.
More people are covered by the New York State Human Rights Law. This law covers businesses that have at least four employees, and it prohibits them from perpetrating age discrimination against people who are 18 and older, except when being of a particular age is a bona fide occupational qualification. Age is a "bona fide occupational qualification" if it is reasonably necessary for the employer to operate its business. Your employer is allowed to ask you for your age or date of birth when you apply for a job.Examples of Age Discrimination
Age discrimination can occur in a wide range of scenarios, and an age discrimination attorney can advise Long Island residents on whether it may have affected them. Often, discrimination is suspected rather than explicitly stated. An employer may use language carefully to avoid being held accountable for age discrimination. For example, if you are 55 and passed over for a promotion that is given to a younger worker with fewer qualifications and much less experience, the company’s decision to use "fresh blood" may be age discrimination.
Similarly, if your company is doing poorly and conducting layoffs, but somehow all of the workers over age 50 are the people being terminated, while younger employees stay on, this may be age discrimination. Often, a telltale sign is that you will be asked to sign a severance agreement. A severance agreement is a contract between an employer and employee that specifies the terms under which termination or a layoff is occurring. The agreement may be entitled a "release and covenant not to sue." The severance agreement is supposed to be supported by an exchange of something of value, which is called consideration, in order to be enforceable.
In addition to being supported by consideration, a waiver of an age discrimination claim in a severance agreement needs to comply with the federal Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). A Long Island age discrimination attorney can help you determine whether the law’s requirements are met. The waiver needs to be knowing and voluntary, and seven factors must be established for the waiver to be considered as such. The seven factors are:
- The waiver is written in clear language;
- The waiver expressly refers to rights or claims arising from the ADEA;
- The waiver advises the employee in writing to consult an attorney before accepting;
- The employee needs to be given 21 days to consider the offer of consideration or severance;
- The employee needs to be given seven days to revoke their signature;
- The waiver cannot include rights and claims arising after the date on which it is executed; and
- The waiver must be accompanied by consideration in addition to whatever you are already entitled to receive.
Regarding this last element, it is not enough for the employer to say "I'll pay you for your last pay period and sick days, if you sign this agreement." Something more must be given.
Sometimes age discrimination is subtler. For example, if your employer does not permit older workers to go to training programs, wanting to save those resources for younger workers, this may be age discrimination. Similarly, if valuable accounts are always being given to the younger employees, this may be age discrimination. Harassment can be another form of age discrimination.Consult an Age Discrimination Lawyer on Long Island
At Phillips & Associates, we fight employer misconduct on behalf of workers throughout Long Island, and we may be able to help you recover damages. Contact us at or through our online form to set up an appointment to discuss your case.
PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
1129 Northern Boulevard, 4th Floor,
Manhasset, NY 11030