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The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) both prohibit employment discrimination based on an applicant or employee’s age. Some companies look for ways to replace older, higher-paid employees with younger staff who will often work longer hours and take on fewer responsibilities for lower pay. However, this often violates the rights of older employees, and those over age 40 have protections against age discrimination. 

You might think that you have an age discrimination claim, but how do you prove it? It can be more challenging than you think, as employers have many ways they try to cover up discriminatory practices. Always discuss your situation with California employment law attorneys as soon as possible. 

Elements of an Age Discrimination Claim

To prove your employer engaged in unlawful age discrimination, you must prove the following:

  • Your employer made an adverse employment decision against you, such as a demotion, denial of a deserved promotion, reduction in hours, termination, or something else that impacted your job. 
  • The decision was based on the fact that you were older than other applicants or employees and you are over age 40. 

Proving that you experienced an adverse employment decision is generally straightforward, as there should be a human resources paper trail. If it involves harassment or something less concrete, you should keep careful notes and records of all communications that occurred. 

The more challenging part is proving that the employment decision was due to your age. Generally, your employer will give another – lawful – reason for the decision. For instance, if you were terminated, your employer might state it is part of standard layoffs due to budgets or restructuring. However, such layoffs often tend to target older employees who might have an age discrimination claim. 

Evidence of Age Discrimination

To prove your claim, you need more than your opinion that your employer was discriminatory. The right employment lawyer can review your situation and advise what types of evidence they can use to prove your claim. Such evidence can include:

  • All emails or messages that might exclude you from important meetings or relieve you of past responsibilities
  • Witness reports that younger employees are replacing you in your duties or getting trained on your job
  • Instances of harassment
  • All records of past and present shifts, pay stubs, timesheets, and more
  • Performance reviews showing that you are meeting or exceeding your employer’s expectations

The evidence you need will differ depending on the circumstances of your case. What is most important is to discuss concerns with an attorney early on so that you know what type of information and documents to retain to prove your claim. 

Let Our California Employment Law Attorneys Help You

If you suffered unlawful age discrimination, you should be entitled to legal relief, including damages for lost income and benefits or even reinstatement to your position following wrongful termination. The legal team at Mara Law Firm is ready to help assess your rights and options, so please contact us for more information. 

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