When you think of discrimination in the workplace, you might assume that the most common and egregious misconduct is based upon race, sex, gender, or national origin. However, statistics reported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reveal that age discrimination is high on the list of charges filed. In 2019, 21.4 percent of all complaints filed by employees included allegations of mistreatment and unlawful conduct because of age.
Because age discrimination is more prevalent than you might expect, you may not recognize the signs or know what to do if you the target of misconduct at work. It is important to get specific legal details from a Georgia employment discrimination lawyer, but some answers to frequently asked questions may be informative.
What laws protect me as an employee in Georgia? The key statute that covers the rights of workers is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which applies to employers with 20 or more employees. It is against the law to treat workers differently or terminate someone who is 40 years or older on account of age. Employers are also prohibited from retaliate against any employee who opposes age discrimination or participates in legal proceedings under the ADEA.
What do I have to prove in an age discrimination claim? To prevail in an action for workplace discrimination, you need to first establish that you are an employee instead of an independent contractor. You must also that:
- You were terminated or the subject of other adverse action by your employer; and,
- Being over 40 years old was the reason that you were mistreated – in other words, you would not have been discharged but for your age.
How do I file an age discrimination case? The first step is filing a charge with EEOC, which is tasked with enforcing the ADEA. The Commission will investigate your allegations to determine whether you have a valid complaint. If you do, the EEOC may:
- Attempt to settle your charge through negotiations with your employer;
- Require you to participate in mediation to resolve your claim;
- File a lawsuit on your behalf; or,
- Take no official action, but provide you with a “Notice of Right to Sue.”
Can I take my case directly to court? You are required to go through the EEOC before you can file a civil lawsuit in court, under a theory known as “exhausting” your administrative remedies. In many cases, you can resolve your age discrimination claim through the EEOC. Once you have the Notice of Right to Sue, you can then initiate litigation.
How long do I have to file an age discrimination claim? Much like a statute of limitations in a personal injury lawsuit, there are time restrictions on submitting your charge to the EEOC. Under the rules, you have 180 days to file your paperwork.
What damages can I recover if I was treated unfairly because of age? In a successful age discrimination case, you can obtain back pay, compensation for pain and suffering, and other monetary damages. In addition, you may be eligible for equitable relief, such as reinstatement, a promotion, or other non-monetary remedies.
A Georgia Employment Discrimination Attorney Can Answer Additional Questions
These answers to common questions about age discrimination may be useful, but they probably do not provide the customized legal information you need to understand your rights and remedies. As such, it is wise to trust your case to an experienced lawyer who will help you get the relief you deserve. For more information, please contact the Vaughn Law Firm at 877.615.9495 or visit us online. We can schedule a no-cost consultation at our offices in Decatur, GA office to review your unique circumstances.