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Los Angeles Employment Law Blog

What are some tell-tale signs of age discrimination?

If you are age 40 or older, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects you from age-based discrimination in the workplace. Despite this federal law, however, workplace ageism remains an all-too-frequent occurrence in the U.S.

Age discrimination expresses itself in a variety of ways, some considerably more subtle than others. AARP – formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons – warns that your company could be awash in ageism if you notice any of the following tell-tale signs.

Do you believe wrongdoing played a role in your firing?

Earning money is an important part of life. Even if you do not consider it your top priority, you do understand that earning an income is necessary to maintain a certain lifestyle and to meet your basic needs. In addition to that, you understand the importance of having a job to earn that income.

Though you may not have your dream job, you enjoy what you do most days and how it allows you to address other areas of your life. As a result, you do not want to unexpectedly lose your job for any reason. You perform your work duties in a professional manner and always try your best to avoid giving your employer reason to discipline you. Unfortunately, you still ended up unemployed.

What types of gender inequality still exist?

Sixty years after the Women’s Movement played a huge part in getting U.S. women out of the “housewife” stereotype and into the workplace, gender inequality still exists there. If you are a woman attempting to climb the corporate ladder, you know how difficult that can be, especially if the company for which you work fails to see gender inequality as an issue.

While Title VII of the Equal Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent laws prohibit your employer from outright discriminating against you based on your gender, gender inequality is far more insidious. For instance, LeanIn.org has been conducting a five-year study of nearly 600 companies to ferret out the real position of women in the corporate world. Entitled “Women in the Workplace,” this massive study reveals the following statistics regarding the 2019 American workplace:

  • Overall makeup: 52% men, 48% women
  • Managers: 62% men, 38% women
  • Directors/senior managers: 63% men, 34% women
  • Vice presidents: 70% men, 30% women
  • Senior vice presidents: 74% men, 26% women
  • ”Corporate suite”: 79% men, 21% women

Are you afraid to disclose your mental illness to an employer?

You and many other California residents may live with mental illness. While you may not want your illness to define you, you know that other people may consider it your defining characteristic in some cases. Often, this happens because others lack the knowledge of what it is like to live with your condition and of the steps you take to manage it.

You know that you can live life much like anyone else, though you may need certain accommodations from time to time. Unfortunately, due to continued stigma surrounding various mental illnesses and the misconceptions many people believe, you often worry that you will receive different or even unfair treatment from those around you. When it comes to your employment, you find this a particular concern.

When is it not OK to lose you job during an economic downturn?

In the last couple months, the United States has been in an unprecedented situation. With so many businesses shutting down to slow the spread of coronavirus, millions of employees have found themselves out of work. They've either been furloughed until their workplace can reopen fully or lost their job entirely.

What defines reasonable accommodation?

If you are one of the estimated 48.9 Americans who have a disability, you likely already know that the Americans with Disability Act protects you from workplace discrimination. In a nutshell, prospective employers cannot discriminate against you based on your disability, and any employer who hires you must provide you with reasonable accommodations that allow you to successfully perform your work.

Per the ADA National Network, however, you must qualify as a disabled person in order for the ADA to apply to you. In other words, you must have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (sometimes referred to in the regulations as an “actual disability”).”

How do you know if you faced illegal retaliation?

Not everyone has a job that they love. In fact, many California residents may dread going into work because they do not get along with their coworkers or employer. In some cases, clashing personalities or differences in views may lead to difficult work relationships, but in other cases, employees may feel that people intentionally mistreat them on the job.

Unfortunately, discrimination, harassment and retaliation can all happen in the workplace, and you may believe that you are experiencing illegal treatment. However, it is important to know that not every annoying or unfair action from a coworker or superior is illegal. Some unfair treatment may still fall under legal activity, even if you do not like it. Still, you may wonder whether what you are going through is against the law.

Is workplace bullying a form of sexual harassment?

If you have become the victim of workplace bullying, you know how humiliating and distressful it is. But if one or more coworkers are bullying you, can you file a sexual harassment claim under Title VII? The answer is, maybe. It all depends on the nature of the bullying.

Per WorkplaceBullying.org, the definition of workplace bullying per se is “health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators” with the following four hallmarks:

  1. It is repetitive negative behavior on the part of the perpetrator(s) that continues over a period of time.
  2. It includes threatening, humiliating and/or intimidating treatment of the target.
  3. It invariably includes the use of verbally abusive language by the perpetrator(s) to and against the target.
  4. It negatively impacts the target’s work and level of production.

Does one of these wrongful termination scenarios sound familiar?

Having a job is an important part of most people's lives. You may have landed your dream job at a young age, or you may just have a job that gets the bills paid, and that is all you ask for. Of course, in either case, if you lose that job, you could face a number of serious setbacks. 

You may have recently found yourself face-to-face with your employer, and maybe a witness, and learned that your boss intended to fire you. You may have understandably felt flabbergasted and wondered what brought on the sudden termination, though you may have had a sick inkling that your employer simply wanted you gone.

Not sure if you are the victim of age discrimination?

Perhaps you have been working for the same California company for years. During that time, you got a sense for how certain supervisors and managers would be as they came and went. Some you like and worked well with, but others you did not.

Now, you have a superior whom you suspect may want you gone or otherwise resents you because of your age. You may need to take some time to analyze your interactions with him or her and really listen to the things he or she says. By doing so, you could help confirm your suspicions, which will help you make a decision regarding what to do next.

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