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Age discrimination: What to do before you sue

You never thought you'd be the victim of workplace discrimination, but age discrimination is something that can affect everyone who tries to stay in his or her job after the age of 50. Perhaps you were passed up for an opportunity you were qualified for because a younger -- but less qualified -- colleague also wanted the position. Perhaps you got fired because they thought you were too old to get the job done.

Regardless how your age discrimination happened, here's what to do before you sue:

  • Get a lawyer who represents employees in who have been discriminated against. Enlist your lawyer's help in answering the following questions and completing the following steps.
  • Research anti-discrimination laws -- both federal law and California state law, and write down the names of the government agencies responsible for investigating cases of age discrimination in your area.
  • Take note of whether the laws apply to the size of the company that employed you. Sometimes, your company needs to have 20-plus employees for you to get protection.
  • Figure out what time limitations may apply to your case. How much time do you have left to sue?
  • Research what kinds of damages you can pursue. Is it permissible to pursue attorneys fees and punitive damages for your particular case?
  • Ask your lawyer for a complete review of the documentation you signed at the onset of your employment. Do this immediately following a termination to determine if you have the right to negotiate a severance package and what kinds of benefits you're entitled to receive under the agreement.
  • Establish a written record of the age discrimination. For example, write down and take notes about inappropriate comments regarding your age from your colleagues or superiors.

Age discrimination is not only illogical -- as older employees are often the most skilled -- it's also unlawful, unkind and extremely inappropriate. If you've been victimized by age discrimination, you can fight back against your unlawful employer and seek financial restitution and justice in court.

Source: Forbes, "What It Takes To Win An Age Discrimination Suit," Penelope Lemov, accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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