Age Discrimination In Layoffs

Age Discrimination In Layoffs

Federal and state laws provide protections to older workers against age discrimination. Workers who are older are much likelier to be targeted in layoffs, but it is illegal for employers to target workers simply because of their ages. Here is what the age discrimination lawyers at Swartz Swidler believe that you need to know if you think that your employer is targeting you for a layoff because of your age.

Laws that protect you from age discrimination in layoffs

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act all protect older workers from age discrimination in layoffs. In Pennsylvania and under federal law, workers who are 40 and older are protected. New Jersey law does not have an age threshold, meaning workers for any age who are discriminated against in layoffs may file claims. In practice, however, a majority of age discrimination claims involving layoffs are filed by workers who are in their 50s or 60s.

Factors to consider if you were laid off because of your age

If you suspect that you were chosen for a layoff because of your age, there are several factors that you should consider, including the following:

  • Did your boss make direct comments about your age?
  • Were you laid off when less-qualified, younger employees were kept?
  • Were you given different options than younger employees were?
  • Have you recently been targeted for discipline?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may have a valid age discrimination claim. One of the experienced attorneys at Swartz Swidler may assess the situation and advise you about your case.

What is the RFOA defense?

A defense to a claim that a worker was targeted for a layoff because of his or her age is that he or she was laid off for reasonable factors other than age, which is commonly called the RFOA. The RFOA standard arose out of a Supreme Court case, which held that employment practices that have disparate impacts on older workers are discriminatory unless they were made for a “reasonable factor other than age”. In order to be determined to be an RFOA, an employment practice must be one that is reasonable from the perspective of a reasonable employer that is similarly situated.

When will the EEOC investigate?

You may file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the related state agency if you believe that you were laid off because of your age. The EEOC may choose to investigate your claim, but the agency doesn’t investigate every claim that it receives. In some cases, the EEOC will instead send a notice of your right to sue. If it does, then you may file a claim against your employer in court. Filing a claim with the EEOC is the first step that you have to take before you can file a lawsuit. Contact the age discrimination lawyers at Swartz Swidler for help with your claim.