Cherry Hill Age Discrimination Lawyers
If you have been terminated, demoted, passed over for a promotion or harassed at your place of employment as a result of your age, you know it can be a traumatic, humiliating and demeaning experience. Your financial security can be jeopardized, especially in this difficult economy. But that does not have to be the case. At McOmber & McOmber, our Cherry Hill age discrimination lawyers have a proven track record of successfully handling age discrimination cases, recovering substantial damages for victims of discrimination, including older employees.
According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against employees or applicants who are at least 40 years old based on their age. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) also protects employees from discrimination based on their age. The ADEA protects employees at every phase of employment, including the interview process, hiring, job evaluations, promotions and termination. In addition, an employer may not treat an individual who is younger than 40 years old more favorably than someone who is 40 years old or older. Older employees must also be eligible for the same benefits as other employees, including health insurance, disability insurance and retirement packages.
Even though discrimination based on age is illegal, it is still a common occurrence. Often times, when a company is forced to layoff a certain number of employees, it is the older employees who are the first to go, regardless of their experience and work ethic. This is due in part to the fact that older employees typically are at a higher salary point than younger, less experienced workers.
Common Examples of Age Discrimination
- A company that is struggling financially fires the older employees who make the highest salaries and have been with the company the longest.
- An employer compensates a younger, less experienced worker over an older employee with more experience.
- A company wants to project a youthful image, so they will not hire a person who looks older than a certain age.
- An employer forces a worker to take early retirement.
- An employee receives feedback from a superior that he or she is too old, lacks the ability to learn new skills and does not have the energy and youthfulness that the company wants to project.
- An employer replaces older employees with younger, less experienced employees in order to pay smaller salaries.
Filing an Age Discrimination Lawsuit
If you want to pursue legal action for age discrimination, the process can be complex and time-consuming. It is never a good idea to go to an administrative agency first. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced employment discrimination lawyer to represent you and ensure that your rights are protected. The process of an age discrimination lawsuit involves the following stages:
- Filing an Administrative Complaint: You must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), at which time it will investigate your complaint by contacting your employer and other witnesses. When this is complete, the EEOC will issue a right-to-sue notice, wherein you have 90 days to file a lawsuit. For an age discrimination lawsuit, you are not required to wait for a right-to-sure order. You may file any time after 60 days from the date your charge was filed.
- Filing in Court: When the above requirements have been met, you may file a complaint in court. At this point, your age discrimination lawsuit has officially begun.
- Discovery: In this phase, lawyers take depositions from witnesses and gather the pertinent information they need for the trial. Both you and your employer will conduct discovery. Your lawyer will accompany you to the deposition to ensure that the questions asked of you are appropriate.
- Mediation: During mediation, both parties come together to try to negotiate a settlement agreement. Both sides may or may not discuss counter settlement offers. Unlike a trial, both parties resolve the matter by agreeing to certain terms, including payment settlement. If you cannot come to a settlement agreement, you will move on to a trial.
- Trial: After the discovery phase, both parties will present evidence at trial, which could take from several days to weeks. You must be present each day of the trial.