The lawyers of Triquetra Law provide representation and consultation in employment matters, primarily for employees. Age Discrimination is a particular focus of the firm’s practice. We invite you to contact us for a consultation and also want you to have some additional background information.
Do You Have an Age Discrimination Case?
Are you old enough to be a victim of age discrimination?
An employee who is 40 years of age or older may file an age discrimination claim. For example, an employee may allege age discrimination when the employer lays off a 45 year-old and hires a younger employee to fill the same position. You may even have a claim if you are over 40 and your position is filled with another worker who is also over 40. Read more about proving an age discrimination case in an article by Triquetra Law lawyer, Sharon López.
How do I file an age discrimination case on my own?
You can file an age discrimination case on your own. However, filing a complaint with your state agency or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is tricky. If you file late, you lose your rights to pursue the case in federal court. If you do not include certain information, you may waive some of your rights to damages later. Finally, if you wait for the investigating agency to complete the investigation before filing in court, you may lose other claims that have short periods of time in which they can be filed, such as Family Medical Leave claims, or Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claims.
What should I look for in a severance agreement?
Severance agreements almost always require you to give up your rights to file lawsuits in exchange for payment. Often you must make up your mind rather quickly or lose the opportunity to get severance pay. However, workers 40 and over are protected under a law called the Older Workers’ Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). This law requires an employer to put specific things in writing when the employer wants the employee to sign away rights. Triquetra Law attorneys can help you negotiate a severance agreement and/or look at your agreement to make sure your rights are protected. Read more about severance agreements in an article by Triquetra Law lawyer, Andrea Farney.
When and where should I file an age discrimination claim?
Employment cases have shorter timelines than many other legal cases. Deadlines vary by state. In Pennsylvania you have:
- 180 days to protect your Pennsylvania rights
- 300 days to protect your Federal rights.
Triquetra Law recommends you consult with an employment lawyer as soon as possible. There are options for where you can file your claim. Further, most of these filing offices offer joint agreements with other offices to protect your rights. However, some offices that accept discrimination claims, such as county or city human relations offices, do not necessarily protect your rights everywhere. It is important to investigate this with an attorney as soon as possible. Also the location you choose to file your claim may have different requirements. For instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only requires enough information on a charge to give the employer notice that discrimination is alleged, but the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission requires a more detailed complaint.
What if I’m still at work but worried that I might lose my job if I file a discrimination claim?
Many times older employees are still working, but wondering if their days are numbered. This can happen when an employer makes or condones comments from co-workers that are age-related:
- When are you retiring?
- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
- Seems like you’ve been having a lot of health problems lately.
- If you can’t keep up, maybe you should retire.
It’s true that you can’t keep an employer from terminating you, but there are things you can do to improve your chances of success if you have to challenge a wrongful separation or termination. Triquetra Law lawyers work with our clients both before and after employment separation. We want to help you obtain greater peace of mind and preserve your rights. We’ll work with your schedule by setting up daytime, evening, or weekend appointments.
If I have to sue my employer, what can I ask for?
Some remedies an employee may seek under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) include:
- Back pay – lost wages, the value of lost fringe benefits, pension benefits and lost vacation time.
- Front pay – pay the employee would have received in the future if the discrimination had not prevented the employee’s return to the workplace.
- Attorney fees – the employer must pay the employee’s attorney fees when the employee succeeds with the claim.
- Rehire and reinstatement – sometimes the employer will agree to rehire the older employee and the employee may agree to return.
To learn more about an appeal in Pennsylvania or about the appellate lawyers at Triquetra Law, please contact us at: 717-299-6300.