Age Discrimination Attorneys In Denver
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Age discrimination in the workplace can occur at any age, but it is illegal to discriminate against anyone who is 40 years or older.
Individuals in this demographic are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. The intent of this law is to ensure that as people get older, they’re not denied promotions, laid off just because they’re “old,” or deprived of opportunities due to potential cognitive or physical limitations that are perceived by the employer.
The law states that qualification for employment should be based on ability, not age. Any signs of discrimination are unlawful. Although our attorneys at Colorado Employee Advocates have helped many individuals struggling with age discrimination, we understand that each case is unique and treat it as such. If you believe you have faced illegal age discrimination, we recommend consulting with an experienced attorney to determine if you have a case.
What Constitutes Age Discrimination?
Discrimination can manifest in a variety of ways. If any of these situations have happened to you, then you might be a victim of age discrimination:
- Not getting hired or chosen for a promotion because of your age
- Wrongful termination based on age, including layoffs
- Unequal pay structure based on age
- Being denied participation in training or health programs
- Jokes or harassment about age
- A potential employer inquiring about your age
- A career posting or advertisement specifying an age limitation (unless it is a requirement to qualify for the role)
As individuals age, they can face several challenges in the workplace related to discrimination. For example, an employee that has been at an organization for several years may have received several promotions during that time. An employer might argue that they can hire someone younger and less experienced to fulfill that role at a fraction of the price, terminating the senior employee. This action is unlawful and would likely qualify as age discrimination.
The law also recognizes that older employees may face discrimination while looking for work. Being passed up for a role because the hiring manager is concerned about tenure or salary requirements strictly because of the age of the applicant is not permitted by law.
Often, older employees face discrimination in the form of jokes, harassment and even off-the-cuff comments. If statements such as “we need young blood” or “we want to hire young people because they are more technologically savvy” have been said in the workplace, then these examples can help prove an age discrimination case.
One of the most common cases we see is wrongful termination based on age. Often, employers incorrectly (and illegally) assume that “older” employees are too expensive, too difficult to train or subject to leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along. While it may be fair to assume that about an individual, when that perception is based solely on the person’s age, it is not legal.
Recent Changes To Age Discrimination In The Workplace Laws
On January 1, 2015, there was an update to Colorado’s discrimination law. The new law, dubbed the Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act, is consistent with the federal ADEA but adds a couple of clauses to expand the scope of age discrimination.
In Colorado, the age discrimination window has been expanded from 40-70 to anyone over 40.
Small businesses with fewer than 15 employees can now be sued for age discrimination-related issues, such as wrongful termination based on age.
Limits To Damages That Can Be Awarded In An Age Discrimination Case
Before pursuing a case, it’s important to know what damages can be awarded. For example, a victim of age discrimination could not sue for compensatory or punitive damages. Only economic damages and attorney fees could be awarded.
There is, however, a clause for “liquidated damages” to be awarded, but only if discrimination is “willful,” and the amount would be double that of economic damages. There are also clauses for back pay and other provisions. Working with a skilled and experienced Denver discrimination attorney will help ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Schedule A Consultation
If you feel that you have been a victim of age discrimination in the workplace, it’s essential to consult with an attorney right away. There are limits to how long you have to take legal action, and it’s vital to have someone on your side that you can trust.
If you’ve been offered a severance package in exchange for signing a waiver and release, consult with an attorney before signing anything.
Our team is on your side, and we will fight for your rights. We represent clients faced with age discrimination in Denver and throughout the state of Colorado.