It’s undeniable – the country’s work force is aging.
Workers are staying in their jobs longer and retiring later. Many baby
boomers are re-entering the work force at an older age both as a means
to make ends meet and to stay active. While we should applaud these efforts
and value the contribution older workers can provide, the reality is that
a significant amount of age discrimination exists. In fact, age discrimination
is one of the fastest growing areas of employment discrimination.
What Is The Legal Definition of Age Discrimination?
Federal anti- age discrimination law – the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act [ADEA] – prohibits discrimination against individuals
over the age of 40. This means that if you are over 40, your employer
may not discriminate against you on the basis of your age, and you are
also protected from harassment on the basis of your age. This includes
“adverse” employment actions such as the failure to hire you
or a discharge because of your age. It also includes age harassment, which
typically involves hostility or abuse directed at you by other employees
because of your age. The ADEA also prohibits retaliation against you for
complaining about age discrimination or for participating in someone else’s
age discrimination case.
If you have questions about the ADEA or think that you have suffered age
discrimination at work, it’s a good idea to consult with a top
Atlanta age discrimination lawyer immediately. A skilled Atlanta employment attorney can provide critical
advice and help you determine your next steps.
Often, the facts surrounding an age discrimination case are subtle. In
a recent case,
Ridout v. JBS USA LLC, a 62-year-old plant manager was fired from his job for alleged insubordination.
He claimed that younger employees at the plant were treated more leniently.
As examples, the older worker provided evidence that a 30-year-old was
demoted (not fired), when management was dissatisfied with his work and
a 33-year-old who had been previously fired from JBS was re-hired to fill
the plant manager’s spot.
The court found that this evidence satisfied the requirement that a plaintiff
show that similarly situated employees were treated better, noting: “The
similarly situated co-worker inquiry is a search for a substantially similar
employee, not for a clone.”
The court also found that the employer’s excuse for firing the plant
manager could be considered “pretext.” Up until the time the
manager was fired, he had received satisfactory performance reviews. When
he was fired, his review said that he had been resistant to change, but
no examples were given. Further, even though he admittedly raised his
voice and was annoyed with his supervisors while on the plant floor –
raising your voice on the noisy factory floor and swearing was relatively
common among plant employees. No one else had been fired for yelling or swearing.
Based on this evidence, the court determined that this case should be put
before a jury to decide whether the plant manager was illegally fired
based on his age.
For more information or if you believe that you may have been discriminated
against because of your age, please contact the top Atlanta age discrimination
attorneys at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.