Siegal & RichardsonLLP

San Francisco Attorneys Serving All Of California

A new bill may help stop age discrimination

Seniors throughout California and the rest of America are working more into their golden years than in the past. Many are delaying Social Security benefits to achieve higher monthly checks than they would at 62 or 65. According to some statistics, seniors are the largest growing segment of workers. But as they work longer into their lives, seniors are also the victims of age discrimination.

When many think of employment discrimination, claims based on race, religion, gender and sexual preference often come to the forefront. However, age discrimination is just as prominent in many industries. According to a survey performed last year, nearly two-thirds of respondents older than 45 believed that they had been victims of age discrimination in the workplace or witnessed it happening others.

Seniors making an age discrimination claim may not have the same legal protections as claimants to other forms of discrimination. Though there is an age protection statute, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it is much more difficult to prove a claim under this than Title VII. For other forms of discrimination, a court can look to whether adverse employment actions were due in part to race, sex or other protected class. In these cases, the burden shifts to the employer.

The 'mixed motives" adverse action does not apply to age claims. Ten years ago, the Supreme Court stated that the Title VII rule was inapplicable to the ADEA. There is a bill currently in Congress, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, to overturn the court decision through legislation.

Even though the Supreme Court decision made it more difficult to prove a case, there are still many claims that have merit and are capable of recovery. A victim of workplace age discrimination may meet with an employment attorney to discuss legal options.

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