In our youth-obsessed culture, older workers can face a range of challenges, including discrimination in hiring and promotions. Some companies even target older workers for termination so they can bring in younger employees and pay them less. If you are age 40 or older and this sounds familiar to you, you need to understand your rights. At the Law Offices of James Jean-Francois, P.A. in Hollywood, I represent older workers who’ve endured age discrimination. In many cases, mistreatment in the workplace is actionable, and older workers can recover cash damages and obtain court orders to stop unlawful treatment. State and federal laws protect you, but you’ve got to take the first step, by consulting an experienced employment lawyer whom you can trust to fight for justice.
Passed by Congress in 1967 and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits many unfair practices targeting workers age 40 and above, including:
The ADEA applies to companies that have at least 20 employees and engage in interstate commerce. Remedies available under the ADEA include compensatory damages and equitable relief, such as reinstatement after a wrongful termination based on age discrimination. Punitive damages might also be available if the company’s behavior was particularly egregious.
Discrimination is hard to prove under ADEA, because the worker must be able to show that if not for their age, the company would have extended them some benefit. This usually requires showing a pattern of behavior, such as laying off only older workers or only hiring and promoting younger workers. For such a case, you should retain an experienced attorney who is committed to investigating the facts to build a compelling case. But you must act quickly because the law only allows you 180 days to file your complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Florida also has a state law, the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA), which covers the same legal territory and provides for similar remedies. The Florida Commission on Human Relations oversees complaints filed under the FCRA. This law extends the ADEA deadline to 300 days, under a work-share agreement with the EEOC. If you file your claim exclusively under state law, you have a full year from the occurrence of the discriminatory behavior to file your action.
Another advantage to filing under the FCRA is that the law applies to companies with at least 15 employees. So, if your company is too small to come under federal ADEA jurisdiction or is not covered because it does not trade in interstate commerce, FCRA jurisdiction may apply.
However, the FCRA does not make it any easier to win an age discrimination suit on the merits. You still need a skilled employment law attorney who is willing to work tirelessly on your behalf.
The Law Offices of James Jean-Francois, P.A. provides employment law representation for older workers who are victims of age discrimination throughout the Hollywood area. To schedule a free consultation, call 954-780-8505 or contact my office online. My Hollywood office is conveniently located at 6100 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 211, between Florida’s Turnpike and South State Road 7.