Age Discrimination Attorney in Alabama
Ageism has become a growing problem in today's workplace. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the number of age discrimination complaints has risen significantly since 2008. Both federal and Alabama state law prohibit employment discrimination based on age. It is illegal for employers with at least 20 employees to discriminate against job applicants and employees who are over the age group 40 with regards to hiring and all other aspects of employment. If you have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, you may have a right to take legal action against your employer or perspective employer. The best place to start is to speak with an experienced employment discrimination attorney.
Since 2005, attorney Kira Fonteneau has stood up for the working people of Alabama. Kira understands the frustration workers go through when an employer discriminates against them based on their age or another protected class. Over the years, Kira has successfully represented clients for a wide range of employment law concerns, and she fights hard to help ensure that her clients obtain appropriate relief, and that those responsible for violating their civil rights are held fully accountable.
Common Types of Age Discrimination
As the population gets older, more and more Baby Boomers are deciding that they want to keep working even as they approach what would normally be considered retirement age. Unfortunately, many are encountering age discrimination at various stages of the employment cycle. Some of the most common ways employers discriminate against workers based on age include:
Age-Targeted Employment Advertisements
Sophisticated technology has made it easier to target certain demographics when companies post job openings. Just posting a job online and not in the newspaper classifieds makes it more likely that younger workers are going to see it. But micro-targeting has allowed employers to take this a step further by posting job listings to targeted individuals based on their age, gender, and other factors. When employers post an opening in a way that only certain individuals are able to see it, this crosses the line and becomes an illegal hiring practice.
Younger Employees Being Hired
The natural result of age-targeted job listings is more younger employees being hired for open positions. Employers may claim ignorance by insisting that a vast majority of applicants are younger, so therefore, that is the available pool of workers they have to choose from. However, they know full well that their available pool of workers is largely the result of their recruiting practices. The bottom line is if you start to see a trend toward younger workers being hired, this is a good indication that age discrimination may be taking place during their hiring process.
Discriminatory Policies or Procedures
A company's policies and procedures should apply equally to everyone, regardless of their age. A policy or procedure may be illegal if it has a negative impact (commonly referred to as “disparate impact”) on applicants or employees that are 40 years of age or older, and it is not based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA).
Another common sign of age discrimination is when older employees receive discipline for doing the same things that younger employees do without being disciplined. This is particularly common after certain milestones, such as when an employee turns 50 or 60. Employers tend to look at someone differently when they are “in their 50s” or “in their 60s”, and suddenly, they may find themselves being held to a much different standard than a younger worker.
Being Denied a Promotion
Who tends to receive most of the promotions at the company? Do they usually go to older or younger workers? Being turned down for a promotion or a new job within the company and seeing it go to a younger person who is less qualified is a classic sign of age discrimination.
Layoffs or Early Retirement for Older Workers
Many employers deal with aging employees by offering them buyouts and early retirement packages. If an older employee does not want to leave their position, however, the company is not allowed to get rid of them just because of their age. One of the ways companies try to get around this is by eliminating the position altogether. They might eliminate an older employee's position, lay them off, then create a new position with a different title and similar job description a few months later and give it to a younger employee.
Older workers are often the target of harassing and unwelcome comments. This is particularly common in workplaces that are made up mostly of younger employees. Being harassed on the job creates a hostile work environment, and if an employer tolerates this, or worse, participates in it, this is a violation of your civil rights.
Alabama Age Discrimination and Employment Act (AADEA)
Workers age 40 and over are protected from employment discrimination based on age under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The state of Alabama also has an age discrimination and employment act that is very similar to the federal law. The main difference is that under the state AADEA, you are allowed to file a private lawsuit against your employer without first pursuing an administrative action with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Do You Have an Age Discrimination Claim?
You may have an age discrimination claim if you are 40 years of age or older, you have suffered adverse employment actions, and you can point to signs that these adverse actions happened to you because of your age. These days, most employers do not come out directly and say, “you're too old”. Today's forms of discrimination are much more subtle, and to prove that you have been discriminated against, you need to have extensive documentation. This may include all electronic communication between you and your employer, the testimony of any potential witnesses, and circumstantial evidence such as a pattern of hiring younger workers. Be sure to obtain as much information as possible related to your claim, then get in touch with a skilled employment law attorney to discuss your case.
Speak with an Age Discrimination and ADEA Protection Attorney in Birmingham
If you believe you have been the victim of age discrimination, you may be entitled to recover compensation from your employer, as well as other legal remedies. Attorney Kira Fonteneau understands the complexities of state and federal employment laws, and she can thoroughly review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.