A fair wage for your hours of work is your right.

Wage & Hour Protections: Getting Paid for What You’ve Worked

employment law attorneysWage and hour violations continue to keep California employment law attorneys busy. This year alone, two large corporations are being investigated for failing to pay workers properly. In June, the Huffington Post reported that Walmart was not paying its truck drivers correctly. The drivers alleged, and the judge agreed, that Walmart was not paying them to complete all the tasks they are required to do, such as weighing their trucks and filling out paperwork. Walmart plans to appeal.

Unsurprisingly, this is not the company’s first trip to court for unpaid wages. Walmart has a history of wage and hour violations across the country and actively works to disrupt unionization. In addition, the nation’s largest employer (with over 1.4 million employees in the U.S) has also been sued for sexual discrimination and racial discrimination in its hiring and promotion processes. While they are attempting to get in workers’ good graces with promised raises, Walmart also needs to show they value their employees by protecting their rights.

More recently, Amazon, the online retail giant, was accused of wage theft in a lawsuit by four former prime drivers. These drivers, responsible for Amazon’s quick within-the-hour deliveries in Los Angeles, allege that Amazon purposefully classified them as contractors in order to underpay them.

This claim comes on the heels of a large Uber lawsuit that brought to light the increasing use of “contractors” as opposed to employees. While this may seem like nit picking, a labor attorney will tell you the distinction is important because of the legal protections employees receive, such as overtime pay and required breaks. Contractors, on the other hand, do not have the same protections, thus making them more vulnerable to predatory employment practices. As more companies hire people as contractors as opposed to employees, the courts will need to look over labor laws with a fine-toothed comb to ensure employers are not circumventing employment laws capriciously in order to underpay workers.

At their core, wage and hour protections aim to ensure that employees get paid a minimum amount for every hour they work. If an hourly employee works more than forty hours, they are generally due overtime pay. In addition, in California, if they work seven days, the seventh day is paid out at a higher rate. Labor laws state that most employees must receive a meal break within a certain number of hours. Some of these rights do differ by profession, so it is important to learn which are applicable in your field.

While it may seem elementary that one should be paid for their work, the issue of wage theft is so big in California, the state runs a website to inform the public about it. It is important to know what you are entitled to in your field of work and what your employer has promised. If you need more information, the state’s Labor Commissioner’s office details the rights of California employees.

If you feel your employer has short-changed you, whether by holding wages, not paying for all the hours you’ve worked, denying overtime pay, or forcing you to work through breaks, it is important you speak with a labor attorney about your unpaid wages. Our labor laws were enacted to ensure that hard-working Americans are paid for their time. Don’t be taken advantage of a moment longer—contact an employment law attorney today. A reputable Los Angeles labor attorney will be able to better help you understand your rights and help you move forward with litigation to recover unpaid wages.

Harassment can involve unwanted physical touching

Why Respect at Work is Never a Bargain

Sexual harassment can involve unwanted physical touchingA Review of California Law by a Discrimination Attorney in Los Angeles

As a sexual harassment lawyer in Los Angeles, I’d like to formally discuss the scope of state and federal sexual harassment laws first by describing a landmark sexual harassment case Supreme Court case known as Burlington Industries vs. Ellerth.

Kimberly Ellerth was a female salesperson for the company Burlington Industries. Subjected to lewd gestures and remarks from a mid-level manager, she silently tolerated the abuse. A competent and dependable employee, Ellerth was awarded a promotion for her work. Yet she continued to be subjected to unwanted remarks about her buttocks, breasts and legs.

This breach of her right to be respected in the workplace resulted in what is known as constructive termination: her work environment became so hostile that she could not continue to be employed there. To put it more succinctly, Ms. Ellerth was essentially forced to quit because she was a woman.

Ellerth sought legal assistance and took Burlington Industries to court. The Federal District Court initially granted Burlington a summary judgment, reasoning that although the work environment for Ellerth was certainly hostile, her failure to utilize the company’s complaint process deemed Burlington unaware of the misconduct. Therefore, the company should be mitigated for its failure to ensure that no employee should be disrespected for things that they have no control over, like sex.

However, on April 22, 1998, the Supreme Court ruled in Burlington that being treated with respect at work doesn’t have to be a bargain. Literally. In prior cases, the court would rule that the inappropriate behavior was indeed sexual harassment on one of two contingencies.

The first contingency is the concept of a Quid pro Quo: where an employee is forced to bargain to retain their job. The nature of the bargain is a result of an employer demonstrating a flagrant and discriminatory abuse of their power: to retain employment, the worker must consent to a Quid pro Quo where they can remain at work in exchange for submission to unwanted advances.

They may also be threatened with some type of work related penalty such as a demotion or reduction in pay for failing to tolerate mistreatment. Similarly, an employee who is offered a reward for submitting to abuse, such as a raise or promotion connotes a Quid pro Quo situation.

The other contingency for sexual harassment was the concept of a hostile work environment. Treatment that oppresses, offends, intimidates or abuses an employee for their sex could result in the court ruling in favor of the victim. However, the treatment must be “pervasive” in a hostile work environment lawsuit. A pattern of routine harassment, generalized mistreatment or repeated inappropriate conduct must be established.

In Burlington the Supreme Court held employers liable who harass their subordinates, even if the victim of the harassment does not technically have to contend with negative job consequences. Even more compelling, the court held that sexual harassment does not have to be contingent on just a Quid pro Quo or a hostile work environment, expanding the possibility for a sexual harassment victim to seek retribution in court.

As an harassment lawyer in Los Angeles, I’d like to inform L.A. residents that the laws in our state are often more expansive for victims of sexual harassment. Here are some things you should know about what defines sexual harassment in our state.

1. Physical Harassment Can Be a Touchy Subject

Gaining retribution for sexual harassment defined by inappropriate touching can depend on the context and number of times an employee was touched. The courts attempt to take look at the facts surrounding the situation. People differ in what they find to be physically uncomfortable. However, repeated touching of breasts, or touching of the crotch, genitals, and/or buttocks can define physical harassment. Making breast to mouth contact will be deemed physical harassment, as well as rubbing of the thighs.

2. Just Because You Aren’t Being Forced to Engage in Unwanted Sexual Behavior, it is Still Unwanted

California prohibits unwanted sexual advances, attempting to view the situation from the perspective of the victim. There needn’t be a request to stop from the employee, and the harasser can still be held liable even if they “did not realize their behavior was unwanted.” And in many cases, even if a victim agrees to submit to or engage with the harassment, it can still be deemed unwelcome.

3. Work Related Sexual Harassment Doesn’t Have to Occur at Work

Whether you are seeking advice from a sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles, or throughout the state, they can advise you on what to do if you are being sexually harassed off the clock. Note that the nature of the abuse must be “work related.” However, a supervisor knowing that they are abusing the capacity of being a supervisor that contacts a victim with harassing phone calls or texts outside of work may still be defined as work related.

4. Sexual Harassment Doesn’t Have to Be Motivated by Sexual Misconduct

The definition of sex is vast – it can include discrimination being based on gender, childbirth, pregnancy or gender identity. Facing negative repercussions because of these issues is prohibited.

What to do if You Are Facing Sexual Harassment

For my clients seeking help in Los Angeles, I would initially advise them to first seek guidance through their employee manual. If there is no advice on what to do, seek help from an employment lawyer in L.A.

You should report the misconduct to a supervisor, however it is advised to do so in writing, and keep a copy of the report for your own documentation. Document the nature and frequency of the conduct as well. Keep a record of the harassers name, a detailed description about what happened, and the date and time it occurred.

Finally, if you feel you have the basis of a sexual harassment case, seek the advice of a Los Angeles employment attorney. Note that the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims may be shorter than you might expect, so a lawyer can help you sort the issue out. It is my belief that being treated with dignity in the workplace is not something that should be earned or bargained for, it is a right. California law and Burlington prove with legal precedent that the Federal and state courts agree.

Judgments & settlements for labor cases

Show Me the Money: Settlement & Judgment Payments

 employment law attorney for labor casesWhen people get involved in law suits, they are often thinking of monetary compensation as an end result, but they may need someone like an employment law attorney to explain to them the various possible results. Most people may not be aware of the differences between settlements and judgments, or that “winning the case” may not be the end of getting satisfaction for their suit. Making sure the payments are actually made could become a whole new battle for the attorneys.

Settlements

When a civil case is brought to a conclusion with monetary assessments made against the one of the parties, it comes about either by a settlement or a judgment. When a legal suit is resolved by negotiation rather than by a trial, the resolution is called a “settlement.” A settlement is an arrangement of a financial or insurance nature, made either in a lump sum or according to a schedule the parties agree to. An employee rights lawyer would be the one to negotiate on behalf of an employee plaintiff, and would follow the client’s instructions on what conditions would be acceptable.

Judgments

Judgments, however, are the result of a trial, either before a jury or a judge alone. The fiscal aspect of the ruling may be determined by the jury or judge.  A labor attorney who is filing on behalf of an employee fighting discrimination of some sort will certainly fight hard at a trial to make sure the employee is best served. In addition to making sure that the employee receives such things as unpaid wages, withheld benefits and other items due the employee, the attorney will argue for additional monetary awards for the client. The jury or judge will make the determination of what will be awarded in the judgment.

An Employment Law Attorney Can Get the Money to Move

The one thing that many people don’t consider is what happens after the case is decided, whether by agreed settlement or trial judgment: getting the money to the proper recipient. Labor law attorneys know that the loser of the case does not always deliver the payments they have been ordered to pay. Once an assessment has been made against one party in the suit, their debt becomes listed in credit reports. That may not be motivation enough in some circumstances. Other options for gaining payment include confiscation of property, so long as it does not infringe on the basic living circumstances of the loser of the case.

It is a frustrating thing about “winning” a suit: there may be an on-going battle to make sure that the settlement or judgment does get paid out in full.

Women have to count the coins for equal pay for equal work

Babe, You’re Only Worth 75 Cents on the Dollar

equal pay for equal work for womenWhen it comes to the issue of equal pay for equal work, sometimes women find a need to turn to a civil rights attorney when they find things have gotten out of kilter. Subtle or latent gender bias in the workplace can lead to women being paid less than their male co-workers. Professional women can find this pay disparity very frustrating to deal with, so they should make themselves aware of what their options are on the legal front. Everyone deserves to be paid the fair wage for their job.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

The quest for equal pay for equal work for women is a long-standing issue. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution, women have frequently been paid less money than men for doing the same jobs. However it came about, the gender discrimination took root in the mindset of employers and has persisted even into the 21st century.

In 1963, the United States legislature passed an act that made it illegal to pay men and women different amounts for doing the same, equal work on jobs that required equal effort, skill, responsibility and are done under similar conditions. The following year, as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, in Title VII, it became illegal to actively engage in sex discrimination not just in wages, but in other compensation in the terms and privileges of employment.

These laws provide a grounding for dealing with inequity in pay for women. Unfortunately, in spite of this, disparity continues to occur. Workers need to stay aware of their circumstances. An employment law attorney can help them determine if they might have cause to claim they have been paid unfairly.

Starting Out

All workers ought to enter employment in comparable jobs at equal pay. That is the expectation of the Equal Pay Act. From that point on, however, the practices of employers in evaluating the work of individual employees become obscured. Bonuses, raises, and advances are judged in privacy, and it is at this point were gender bias starts to have an effect. When women work in a subtly hostile work environment, they may find that they receive fewer bonuses for performing the same work as their male co-workers, smaller raises, or fewer of other benefits. Seeking advice of employment attorneys can help in making decisions about courses of action.

Growing Gap

The gap in equitable pay between men and women grow the longer an individual is in the work force. If a worker suspects that she is being affected by gender discrimination in the form of inequity in payment and benefits, she should keep track of all details. Any possible unpaid wages, withheld bonuses, help to increase the edges between the top end of what women get paid and the top end of what men get paid for doing the same job.

Documenting as much as possible is an important element in preparing to file for additional. The attorney would give the worker guidance on what to document.

Various agencies indicate that although male and female workers may start out nearly (but not quite) at equity in most companies, over time as they pursue parallel courses though their careers, women progressively drop lower and lower on the pay scale, even though they are delivering work comparable to their male peers. The figures vary as to how the balance stands these days, but they range between women earning between 70% to 80% that of their male colleagues. For every dollar a male colleague earns, on average, a woman can expect to be paid a mere 75 cents, even though she is performing exactly the same duties with exactly the same competence.

Standing Strong

Even though a woman might be concern about possible workplace retaliation if she files a claim about wage discrimination, she should still stand strong for her rights under the laws. With the assistance of a reliable team of employment attorneys, the professional female worker can fight for equity in pay and benefits.

Supreme Court of the United States

Equality Act Strengthens Workplace Retaliation & Harassment Protections

marriage equality case at the Supreme Court of the United StatesIn June of this year, the United States Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision on Marriage Equality that is being heralded as a significant victory over sexual preference and gender identity discrimination in this country.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the court held that the U.S. Constitution requires states to license and recognize marriages between two people of the same sex, making marriage equality officially the law of the land.

But even though the Supreme Court’s ruling brought marriage equality to all 50 states, 31 states still lack clear, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

That means LGBT Americans can get legally married but still be at risk of being denied services for who they are, or risk being fired simply for getting married and wearing their wedding ring to the office the next day.

Discrimination is a very real problem that persists for too many LGBT Americans. Nearly two-thirds of those who self-identify as being LGBT report experiencing some form of discrimination in their personal lives.

The problems come up over and over again in the 31 states that don’t have clear, fully-inclusive LGBT non-discrimination laws, Take for example these recent cases:

  • The Kentucky school teacher who was fired after her principal found out she was planning to get pregnant and have a child with her female partner.
  • The lesbian couple, also in Kentucky, who were asked to leave a park while shooting maternity photos after they kissed in public.
  • The transgender woman shamefully denied housing at a Texas Salvation Army shelter because she has not undergone “gender affirming” surgery.

Despite the incredible progress on issues from marriage to military service, stories like these three are far too common.

Introduced in the U.S. Senate by Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker, and in the U.S. House of Representatives by David Cicilline and John Lewis, the Equality Act establishes specific, permanent protections against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service.

Additionally, the Act bars discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places.

California is one of the 19 states with anti-discrimination laws on the books. Extensive protections for LGBT people exist under California law, particularly for housing, credit, labor and/or employment. In addition, sections of In re Marriage Cases not overturned by Proposition 8 include the establishment of sexual orientation as a “protected class” under California law. This brings the added requirement of heightened scrutiny in all discrimination disputes.

So while the Equality Act provides much-needed protections for the LGBT community in all 50 states, it also reinforces protections already in place for all citizens, male and female, as well as all racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

 

Shoved Out the Door: Wrongful Termination

employee-rights--law-wrongful-terminationMany employees get caught up in worrying about possible job loss for various reasons, or possible workplace retaliation if they have blown the whistle on an occurrence of wrong-doing in the company. It’s certainly a distressing thing to lose your job. When the cause for the job loss seems inexplicable, it may be time foe you to consult an employment attorney.

The End of a Job

Any time someone leaves a job other than voluntarily, there will be questions as to why the employee has been let go. There are a number of causes that can justify an employee’s termination, but there are a number of causes that do not fit that bill. There are some cases were an employer may fire someone for what are basically illegal reasons. This is what is called “wrongful termination.”

Wrongful Termination

Although most employment conditions give the employer the right to terminate a worker’s employment “at will”, there are some reasons that are inappropriate. A specific job loss may need to be evaluated on an individual basis, but there are certain elements that can indicate that the termination was wrong.

Situations that constitute wrongful termination include

  • Termination contrary to a specific law or regulation
  • For exposing a company practice of withholding earned commissions and accrued vacation pay
  • For taking time off to complete jury duty
  • Taking time off to vote
  • For serving in the National Guard or military
  • For blowing the whistle to authorities about company activities that are harmful to the public
  • Discrimination for race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy
  • Retaliation

.Any of these causes for termination would be considered wrongful. An employment attorney can help clarify if a terminated employee has cause for protesting.

Protesting a Dismissal

If you or anyone you know has endured what you believe to be a wrongful termination, seek the advice of an employment lawyer. Have detailed notes and records (if possible) of actions and communications from supervisors and other members of management that you have received. It’s possible that you may have cause to contest the termination of your employment. It is worth it to take a stand when you believe you have been wrongfully let go.

Unwanted touching can be harassment

Babycakes, That’s Not Harassment, Is It?

Unwanted touching can be harassmentThese days, most workers are conscious of the issue of harassment in workplace situations, and they know the more obvious behaviors to avoid. Yet there are some interactions that can still cause disturbance, when people engage in them without thinking of context and the nature of the interaction. The issues of subtle sexual harassment are not easy to bring out in the open.

“Innocent Flirting” Might Be Harassment

The government regulations regarding sexual harassment lay out a clear definition of what constitutes harassment:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

What traps many people is not grasping what can be considered “intimidating, hostile, or offensive.” What one person might consider “innocent flirting” in the office might actually be received as disturbingly unwanted personal attention. One man’s humorous familiarity with a long-time married female co-worker might be received as intimidating and offensive to the much younger, newly engaged colleague who only joined the company six weeks earlier.

Mistaken Acceptance

In a work-place with a casual atmosphere, it is easy for co-workers to mistake politeness and a desire to avoid turmoil for acceptance of casual physical contact or verbal familiarity. Co-workers need to be aware of context. Just because a male co-worker overhears his female colleague talking to another woman about an outfit she just purchase, that does not mean he can email her privately expressing anticipation of seeing her in that outfit. The expression of interest in a person’sfuture wardrobe choices is an intrusion into “personal space” and can be received as harassment. Just wait until she wears the outfit, and compliment her then.

The discomfort that such intrusions creates is a subtle, sometimes vague, experience for the recipient. They are uncertain as to whether to verbally warn the intruder, or just swallow it, ignore it and move on. The problem is that often the intrusive personality reads silence on the matter as acceptance, and so they may believe that the recipient does not have a problem with the intrusion.

The danger in email communications is that all the non-verbal signals of acceptance, amusement, discomfort are lost. And given our highly interactive world, there is often an expectation on the part of the sender of an email or chat message that the other person will respond in some way. The sender may not consider the possibility that the recipient is so uncomfortable with what was sent that they are not going to say anything. When the sender doesn’ t realize that, that person may send of string of messages asking why there was no reaction, or repeating similar familiarities. Eventually the recipient (who has probably been thinking “If I don’t answer, it means I don’t want it!”) will reach a breaking point and angrily denounce the sender’s behavior.

A lack of response to an approach, whether verbal or by email or message should be taken as a “No, please stop. Thank you.”

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment does not only mean active hostilities between two people, where there is a pitched battle daily for control of things in the office. It can also mean such things as a man having the Playboy pin-up calendar displayed where all his female co-workers are likely to see it at any time of the day, even without stepping into his office or cubicle. A woman leaving a shopping bag of personal hygiene items in clear view could also be considered “hostile work environment” for the men in the office.

Paying attention to our co-workers and giving everyone a degree of consideration and respect is the best way to avoid falling into subtle behaviors that can accumulate in a harassment situation. Awareness and consideration will help all avoid having to deal with harassment employment lawyers.

Whistleblower at a keyboard

The Laws of Whistleblowing

whistleblowingWhen a southern California employee sees dubious behavior in their workplace and they want to do something about it, a Los Angeles employment attorney can advise them about their options. There are many factors about being a whistleblower that can create a lot of uncertainty for anyone.  What are the consequences of blowing a whistle?

What is a Whistleblower?

We hear the word used a lot, but what really is a whistleblower? They are workers who refuse to engage in illegal behaviors or activities on the job.  The misconduct that such a worker might report can belong to several different types of behavior.

  • Violations of laws, rules or regulations
  • Direct threats to the public interest
  • Health and safety violations
  • Corruption
  • Fraud

The whistleblower could report their observations and allegations internally within the organization, or externally to law enforcement agencies, to regulators, or to the media. The point is that they want to expose wrong-doing within their work environment. Illegal conduct left to exist within a work situation can only undermine the quality of the work and general productivity.

The term itself comes from sports where the referees make judgement calls of plays on the field. They blow the whistle to let the players know that an play has been fouled or illegally made. In the early 1970s, activist Ralph Nader applied it to those who speak up, because the usual terms of “informer” and “snitch” had such negative connotations. He wanted to encourage those who were inclined to expose wrong-doing to come forward.

Fears of Retaliation

Many whistleblowers encounter reprisals for taking action. The reprisals might come from members of the organization that the whistleblower is reporting, or from a related organization. These reasonable fears hold some people back from speaking up about wrong-doing they spot in the work place. The more that people are aware of the protections available to whistleblowers, the more they are likely to speak up when they can.

Areas of Protection

In the federal government, OSHA has a  Whistleblower Protection Program which enforces the provisions of over twenty different statutes that protect workers who choose to expose a whole range of possible violations.

  • Workplace health and safety issues
  • Transportation concerns, including airlines, commercial motor carriers, motor vehicle safety, public transportation agencies, railroads, maritime issues,
  • Consumer products
  • Environmental issues
  • Financial reforms and securities laws
  • Food safety
  • Health insurance reforms
  • Energy issues, including nuclear issues and pipelines

Under the various whistleblower protection laws, workers’ rights are covered securing participation in health and safety activities, reporting work-related injuries, illnesses or fatalities, or reporting violations of the statues.  The protection regulations are intended to shelter the whistleblower from retaliation by superiors and employers for their choice to step forward.

Taking Your Stand

If you find yourself trying to decide whether to come forward about activity in your workplace that you believe is hazardous or illegal, seek out the advice of an employment attorney. A lawyer who specializes in this area can inform you of what you need to do, how quickly you need to file any report, what aspects of your status are protected by the law. Do not feel that you have to face the situation alone.

older workers have legal protections

Legal Protection for Older Workers

older workers have legal protectionsWhen an employee  in Los Angeles suspects that he or she might be the victim of age discrimination on the job, they should seek the advice of an L.A. employment attorney. A lawyer who specializes in employment discrimination cases will be able to help them sort out just what really is going on and what can be done about it. Rather than sit at home suffering, thinking there are no options, older workers should stand their ground as a contributing member of society.

What Age Discrimination Looks Like

The signs of age discrimination can sometimes be subtle, but there are many elements that a worker can take note of, for they can definitely qualify as discrimination against the older employee

  • Comparisons  — compare how younger employees are treated, and if they are treated differently than the older employee, a discrimination may be occurring.
  • Comments Biased Against Age – when the worker is addressed by “age-weighted” words in a business context, the speaker may be showing a bias against age. “Grandpa” outside a family reference context is not an appropriate term for work.
  • Promotions – when an older, more experienced and capable employee is passed over for a promotion they have applied for, in favor a younger, less experienced, less qualified worker, age discrimination may be in play
  • Uneven Discipline – when an older employee is disciplined for actions that younger employees are not rebuked for, age discrimination is likely to be a factor
  • Favoritism – when it is generally clear that a supervisor favors younger employees over the older ones, especially when it comes to promotions, commissions or bonuses, age discrimination will be a factor
  • Sudden Changes in Competence Reviews – when supervisors suddenly begin to treat the employee as lacking knowledge and capability after years of favorable reviews, age discrimination could be affecting the situation

When any of these factors appear to be affecting an older employee’s work situation, that person should start taking detailed notes of the instances; dates, times, and the people involved should all be recorded in the notes. Documenting events that fall into these categories is an important element of showing that discrimination is occurring in the work place.

Discrimination versus Harassment

One of the key things to remember is that in the law there can be a distinction between Discrimination and Harassment. What it boils down to is that if the behaviors do not involve an effect on the employee’s wallet, the behavior will likely be considered harassment. There are different remedies for discrimination and harassment, and different procedures for the employee to follow. Again, seeking advice from a lawyer specializing in the issues is important in these situations.

Legal Protection

There are legal protections for the older employee. In 1967, President Johnson signed into law the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This law forbids employment discrimination against anyone 40 years of age or older. Additional protections are defined in amendments to the ADEA, as well as in the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. These laws provide guidelines for areas where the older employee can reasonably expect to have their rights upheld.

Employers should be aware of these protections, but that doesn’t mean that individual supervisors won’t disregard them. But the laws are in place to make sure that a worthy employee does not lose ground simply because they’ve acquired additional years above some imaginary threshold.

Stand for Your Rights

If you are an older worker who is suddenly (or gradually) finding that advancement in your workplace is slipping out of grasp, you may be the victim of age discrimination. Short of true disability brought on by age (an infrequent thing in reality), you ought to be able to expect that your experience and competence should be valued over that of a new, inexperienced and younger worker. If you find that the circumstances are turning against you as you add years to your resume, seek the advice of a discrimination attorney.

Older worker job hunting in spite of age discrimination

Age Based Discrimination

Older worker job hunting in spite of age discriminationIf you feel that you have been put at an employment disadvantage, any discrimination lawyer Los Angeles has to offer can explain the legal parameters for you. Everyone is conscious of the possibilities of discrimination at work in some fashion or other, but they may not be aware of some of the things that can be considered as discrimination or what the legal options are. This is especially true of issues related to age in the workplace.

Stereotypes of Age

We fall into patterns of stereotyping by grouping people and attributing certain characteristics to that group. The stereotypes can grow subtly, based on general assumptions made by society. When it comes to issues of age, for instance, stereotypes would include that older citizens are more prone to being ill, or that they are likely to be more forgetful. Those types of stereotypes can cause employers to think that an older employee will have more or more frequent health problems, or be less detail oriented on the job than a younger (though less experienced) employee.

Improved Conditions for Aging

Throughout the last century, general improvements in living conditions and health care have brought changes to how people age. Many older people are highly active, more so than they had been in previous generations.  More sophisticated health care also allows for a number of conditions to be managed without interfering with regular activities, including jobs. The “infirmities of age” that are a detriment in the workplace are considerably fewer these days.

Experience in Older Workers

Life-experience gives most people a broad range of problem-solving skills and a more adaptive perspective. The stereotype of the older citizen pictures them as set in their ways and unable to adapt. Yet if that person has gone through a wide range of experiences, adaptability is part of their survival skills. Within various professions, a person needs to stay on top of changes to keep up with the work: thus, a more experienced employee should be considered a more valuable asset. The longer an employee has been with a company, the better the grasp that person has of the company’s goals.

Discrimination

In spite of the above-mentioned factors that are favorable for older employees, stereotyping leads to discrimination of older employees. It may begin through unconsidered assumptions, such as assuming that an older employee will be less able to take on a new task than a younger, less experienced employee. The fact that the person making the decision may not realize the underlying prejudice that is creating this discrimination makes these situations challenging to deal with.

When workers remain fully competent in their jobs and have earned preferential consideration due to their endeavors, they should not be held back by social assumptions about imagined incompetence of age.  Older workers bring trained experience to their jobs, as well as potentially better developed social skills. If discrimination against them because of their age starts affecting their jobs, older workers should seek legal advice about ways to resolve the situation.