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Age Discrimination

Both federal and state law protect you from discrimination in the workplace based on your age. The federal law, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (referred to as the ADEA) makes it illegal for an employer:

(i) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age;

(ii) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age; or

(iii) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with th[e ADEA].

Congress was explicit in stating that these protections are necessary because "older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs."

The law protects workers who are forty (40) years or older and protects workers from discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment, discipline and discharge. In order to prove age discrimination, Courts will employ the "shifting burdens" standard of review, but ultimately the question is whether but/for your age, would you have been subject to the adverse employment action?

New York State law also protects you from discrimination based on age and follows the same proof requirements as the ADEA. Article 15 of New York's Executive Law (referred to as the NY Human Rights Law), identifies as a "civil right" in New York "[t]he opportunity to obtain employment without discrimination because of age . . . ." HRL, Section 291. The biggest difference between the two laws (ADEA and the NY HRL) is that it protects workers ages 18 and older from discrimination in the workplace.

Federal age discrimination claims must first be brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. The deadline for bringing a claim could be as short as 180 days from the date of the discriminatory act. In NY, the deadline to bring an ADEA claim to the EEOC is 300 days from the date of discrimination.

State claims may be brought in court as late as 3 years after the date of the adverse employment action. If you wish to proceed through New York's administrative remedy, the NY State Division of Human Rights, you must file your charge of discrimination within one year of the adverse action.

Call Charny & Wheeler for a free telephone consultation to see if you have colorable claims under the federal and state laws.

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