Age Discrimination

When companies seek to reduce costs by trimming their payrolls, it often means that the workers who have worked at the company the longest and have earned pay raises make desirable targets for cost-cutting layoffs.  Stated differently, firing employees based on their higher salaries and, therefore, seniority tends to punish older employees and favor younger ones.

This may amount to illegal age discrimination, which is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the corresponding federal age discrimination law. Under this law, employers are not allowed to unreasonably rely on an employee’s age when hiring or firing employees. Employers must generally use age-neutral considerations, such as job performance, when making decisions on who they want to hire or fire. 

In other cases, employers may simply want to rid themselves of older workers because they find younger workers easier to control or wish to present a certain type of image to the public.  This disparate treatment of older workers because of their age is also generally prohibited and can form the basis of a lawsuit.




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