Know Your Rights: Federal and state laws protect
both older and younger workers
Employees in the United States are protected from age discrimination under federal and state law. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees who are at least 40 years old and work for an employer with at least 20 employees. The ADEA makes it illegal for an employer to make job-related decisions based solely upon age.
Many state laws go further, such as New York law, which applies to employers of at least 4 employees and protects both older and younger workers from age-related employment discrimination. If you were laid off, but younger employees with less experience were not, you may be suffering from the challenge of age discrimination.
What Steps Should be Taken When Age Discrimination Occurs?
If you’re being treated differently at work because of your age, it is your obligation to report it to your employer so they will have the chance to investigate and correct the situation you’ve brought to their attention. If your employer does not fix the situation, or if the age-based harassment continues, you can file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or your equivalent state anti-discrimination agency. If you resign or avoid this step, you may lose your ability to sue for discrimination.
The EEOC and New York State Time Deadlines for Filing Discrimination Claims
If you have suffered an adverse employment action, like denial of a promotion, a demotion, suspension without pay, or termination/layoff, you need to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, or your state/county/city agency before you can sue. At our firm, we file the necessary pre-litigation claims with the appropriate agencies on behalf of our clients.
In New York, you have 300 days from the date of the last discriminatory act to file a complaint with the EEOC, and one year from the last discriminatory acts to file with either the New York State Division of Human Rights or the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and finally, you have 3 years from the last discriminatory act to commence a lawsuit directly in New York State Supreme Court under the state and/or city “Human Rights Laws.” Filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC is always a requirement before you’re allowed to sue your employer in federal court.
How We Help
If you are experiencing or have experienced unequal treatment at work because of your age, call or write to us for a free consultation, as we have a proven track record of successfully prosecuting age discrimination matters, as we did for our client Theresa Garafolo, winning $1 million for her following a jury trial in federal court.