Age Discrimination in the Workplace
The Law Office of Michael O. Shea specializes in helping clients in all aspects of Employment Law. One area of his expertise is representing clients and older workers who believe they are victims of age discrimination in the workplace. With over two and a half decades of experience working with clients to uphold employment law and litigation experience, he’s successfully litigated employment cases in both the state and federal courts. Additionally, as an employment law attorney, he has experience trying employment cases in the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC.
Massachusetts Fair Employment Practice Act
The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practice Act (for companies with 6 or more employees) and the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (for companies with 20 or more employees) prohibit age discrimination in the workplace. Regulations set forth in MA General Laws Chapter 151B are applicable in situations involving employees who are 40 years or older. In addition to protecting workers aged, the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practice Act forbids discriminatory employment practices based on ethnicity, gender, disability, religious beliefs, color, and military status.
Your Rights As An Older Worker
In Massachusetts, workers of all ages, and regardless of their employer, have a right to work in a harassment-free and discrimination-free environment. Workers over the age of 40 falls under the shelter of a protected class, so unfair treatment, discrimination, and other forms of harassment are not allowed – nor should they be tolerated. While not all-inclusive, types of unfair or age discriminatory treatment in employment including the hiring process or workplace could include:
- Getting called ‘old’ prior to getting fired or facing other unwanted harassment based on your age.
- Firing older, more senior employees in favor of keeping younger employees with lower pay grades.
- Getting overlooked for promotions or projects in favor of extending these opportunities to younger employees.
- Targeting mainly older workers over younger employees for layoffs.
- Not getting hired because the employer is seeking a younger candidate for the position.
- Unfair recruitment policies that favor candidates with fewer years of experience in the field.
- Having unfair disciplinary action taken against you based on age.
- Unfair comparisons with younger employees and favoritism in the workplace.
- Not getting pay raises due to your age or seniority level.
- Age-restricted apprenticeships
- Job notices and advertisements that include age preferences.
- Other types of employment decisions made based on age.
Employers should always maintain a professional relationship with employees. What some people consider lighthearted joking, such as calling an older employee ‘pops’ or ‘old man’ could actually be interpreted as age discrimination if the comments are unwelcome. If you feel that you have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, you could be eligible for a settlement.
Adverse comparisons and favoritism is also a form of discrimination. For example, if younger employees get treated more approvingly than older workers or company cutbacks are primarily affecting aged workers over 40, this could indicate age discrimination. According to the employment act of 1967, these violations are unacceptable in many circumstances. Court ruling prohibits workplace favoritism.
Another way that workers may face age discrimination is when older employees get disciplined for doing the same activities that younger employees don’t get corrective actions taken. If this has happened to you or co-workers, this is one of the most common forms of unfairness in the workplace. Be sure to document any incidents for reference.
Qualified candidates denied promotions or pay raises based on their age also could hold a claim to discriminatory treatment. By law, employers are not allowed to withhold pay raises and promotions based solely on the candidate’s age.
In a workplace environment, consistency is critical to maintaining policies. Regardless of how old employees are, company procedures apply to everyone working for the company. However, if there are reasonable factors, some practices can vary based on different age groups. Discrimination laws preclude policies with an unfavorable impact on workers 40 or older when they aren’t based on a “Reasonable Factor Other than Age” (RFOA).
Apprenticeship opportunities must be available to all qualified candidates, regardless of age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 disallows discrimination based on age in apprenticeship programs, with some exceptions from the employment opportunity commission EEOC.
What Are The Next Steps If You Face Age Discrimination In The Workplace?
An employer must not discriminate against you because of age (being over 40)
If you feel you are the victim of harassment or discrimination at work because of your age and the company you work for has posted policies, the first step to take is reporting the issue. As per the Supreme Court, you must first give your employer the opportunity to amend the issues first.
After reporting, if the company doesn’t take steps to fix the problem, speaking with an experienced age discrimination lawyer can help you to decide your next course of action. In the state of Massachusetts, Michael O. Shea works as your advocate to ensure your case gets fairly represented. If issues with social security are at stake, he campaigns for your cause to ensure that your best interests are kept in mind.
Depending on the circumstances of your claim, he works with you to file a discrimination claim or to settle your claim. Older people targeted for layoff or dismissal from the company could qualify for a better severance package if age discrimination is found to have taken place.
Call An Employment Law Attorney In Massachusetts
If you are over the age of 55 and have experienced workplace harassment or discrimination, you don’t have to tolerate abuse or unfair workplace practices. Protect yourself and other colleagues from unnecessary misconduct by speaking with the employment law experts at Michael O. Shea law offices today. For your convenience, we offer free initial consultations to discuss your situation and the options that are available to resolve the issues in a professional and prompt manner.
With offices in Worcester, Boston, Springfield, and Wilbraham, we work with clients throughout all of Massachusetts. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation about your age discrimination case today.