The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment on the basis of their race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, martial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.
Feb. 21, 2019
An Aging Population Continues to Face Workplace Discrimination
As the average age of the country’s population continues to rise, it becomes more evident that certain preconceived notions about older people are costing some their jobs. Even in a progressive state such as California, older employees continue to face workplace discrimination despite the state and federal legal prohibitions placed on employers. A U.S. Supreme Court decision back in 2009 did not help the situation since it made it more difficult for older workers to file discrimination claims.
In response to an atmosphere where older workers could end up fired or demoted based on their age without any consequences to the company doing it, members of Congress are attempting to move forward legislation to help. The proposed Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act would essentially undo the high court’s decision. If passed, the law would allow aging workers to present “admissible evidence” of age discrimination without requiring this factor to be the sole one in a termination or demotion discrimination claim.
Employees could present evidence that shows the existence of a workplace culture that discriminates against older workers such as jokes about age, comments on appearance and more. The proposed law would also allow courts here in California and elsewhere to put an injunction in place to prevent the demotion or dismissal. However, the court would not be able to make any awards along with it.
While older workers wait for more assistance in holding discriminatory employers accountable, they still need to stand up for themselves. Workplace discrimination claims based on age are low despite many aging employees acknowledging its prevalence. Perhaps if more people came forward, it would put more light on this issue, which could help make much needed changes.
How many times have you wondered if you’re getting paid your fair share? Do you think you’re underpaid because of your race, sex, gender, disability, or even your prior salary history?
If you cannot work because you’re injured/sick or you need to care for a qualifying family member, eligible employees (those who worked more than 1,250 hours in the year prior for an employer with 5 or more employees) are eligible for up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and/or California Family Rights Act protected Leave (CFRA).