In a study by AARP, many individuals believe that age discrimination begins in the workplace when employees are in their 50s. Of the respondents in the study, more than half had seen or experienced discrimination in their lifetime. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is not going anywhere, especially as workplace culture and structures change with technology. While you may find it difficult to speak out against these discriminatory actions, it’s important you do. If it’s happening to you, it’s likely to be happening to others. If you are a victim of age discrimination in New York, you need the employment discrimination lawyers of Brown Kwon & Lam.
Age Discrimination Laws
Under both federal and New York state laws, age discrimination in the workplace is illegal. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance is prohibited. The act applies to individuals 40 years of age and older, and permits the use of certain age distinctions and factors other than age itself to meet requirements. The federal law is specific to businesses that employ more than 20 individuals.
The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) also addresses age discrimination for employees. As of February 2020, New York State law prohibits all employers, regardless of size, from making hiring, firing, or other employment decisions based on age. New York age discrimination laws also apply to independent contractors. In addition, the act applies to those individuals age 18 and older. Under the law, a complaint must be filed with the Division within one year of the alleged discriminatory act.
An amendment to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) extends protections to older employees by prohibiting the following:
- Targeting older workers when conducting lay-offs staff-reductions;
- Failing to follow procedures when asking older workers to waive their rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and
- Using an employee’s age as the basis for discriminating against them in regards to benefits.
Is it Age Discrimination?
To see if your claim falls under either of these laws, you must be able to show age played a factor in the event. Such discriminator actions include:
- An employer refuses to hire or promote an employee
- An employer terminates an individual because of age
- An employer does not provide the same terms and conditions of employment, including salary
- An employer denies an individual acceptance into an apprentice program because of age
- An employer establishes separate seniority, layoff, or recall lists based on age
- Labor union does not extend the same benefits to one employee as others because of his or her age
- An employment agency does not provide services to individuals over 40 years old, such as job referrals
To prove age discrimination occurred, you must prove:
- Direct Evidence: This may include apparent and overt actions taken or avoided because of an employee’s age. This includes being told you were not hired or you were fired specifically because of your age or if you overhear a supervisor discussing your age as a negative element.
- Disparate Treatment: While this can be more difficult to prove, such actions would include you being passed over for a job or promotion for someone who is younger, though they were less qualified.
- Disparate Impact: This type of action involved an employment policy that was intended to be neutral, but instead, disproportionately impacts older employees because of age, unrelated to essential job responsibilities.
Age Discrimination Lawyers: Know Your Rights, Be Prepared
Because it can be difficult to prove age discrimination has occurred unless direct evidence exists, it’s important to have an employment discrimination attorney on your side who can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
There are certain documents pertaining to your employment that will be critical in your case. Such documents include:
- Evaluations and performance reviews
- Warnings or complaints against you
- Job description
- Employee handbooks, insurance policies, and manuals
Contact Our New York City Employment Discrimination Attorneys Today
As a victim of age discrimination in your New York workplace, you may find it hard to speak up and against your employer, supervisor, or another coworker. But you deserve to be treated on the basis of your skills, not on your age.
If you believe that you were a victim of age discrimination in New York, contact Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP today.