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Top Age Discrimination Lawyer Reply: Can My Employer Fire Me Because Of My Age?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2014 | Age Discrimination, Wrongful Termination |

Best Ohio Age Discrimination Attorney Answer: How long do I have to bring my age discrimination case? What if I was terminated because of my age, but my employer gave me a different reason? Can my employer replace me with a younger worker? How do I find the best Ohio lawyer for a wrongful termination claim?

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When faced being fired from their jobs, employees usually encounter many questions. The first question may be, “Is it unlawful for my employer to do this to me?” And, as is typical of employment attorneys, the answer is: it depends. As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about before, Ohio is an at-will state. Meaning your employer can terminate you for a variety of reasons. It is important to remember that the reason does not have to be a good one, or even make sense. More importantly, age discrimination attorneys focus on what the reason CANNOT be under the law. Most people know that employers CANNOT fire employees because of race or gender. Likewise, pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and Ohio’s age discrimination law (R.C. § 4112.02(N), R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14), employers cannot discrimination or fire employees because of their age when the employee is over the age of 40 years old. In this regard age discrimination has been defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) as “treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.”

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As the baby boomer generation ages, our employment discrimination have noticed an increase in claims for age discrimination. However, in the majority of cases, an employer will not regularly come right out and say, “Bob, hit the road, you’re just too old,” or “Debbie, we’re sorry, but we’re letting you go because you just turned 60 and can’t keep up like you used to.” Certainly, if your boss says something to you like this you should call us immediately. But, even if your employer told you that you were let go for a seemingly logical reason, it does not mean they get off the hook.

For example, in Sweeney v. Roche Diagnostics Corporation, a federal judge in Pennsylvania determined that a plaintiff can proceed to trial if he or she is able to show that a legitimate business reason given as justification for termination can also be proof of pretext (a falsehood). In this case, Benjamin Sweeney was employed by the defendant corporation in a sales capacity. Although Sweeney regularly achieved the sales quotas established by his company, his employer consistently requested that he diversify his book of business by locating and securing new accounts. When Sweeney took over the territory, his largest customer accounted for 75 percent of his sales revenue, and by the time of his termination, that amount had grown to 97 percent.

According to his employer, the problem with this number stemmed from the risk of losing the account without having back up accounts to sustain the loss – similar to placing all your eggs into one basket. After many warnings and several negative performance reviews, Sweeney was terminated.

At first glance it seems possible that Sweeney was terminated for a valid reason, but Sweeney was able to surpass a procedural hurdle and make it to trial based on three things:

  1. Sweeney could point to several younger employees who were treated more favorably than Sweeney;
  2. A genuine dispute existed as to whether Sweeney’s boss had made derogatory comments about working with older individuals; and
  3. Sweeney’s employer replaced him with a significantly younger employee. After one year on the job, the replacement employee was only able to generate new business by securing two new smaller clients. Despite failing to find new clients, the replacement employee’s performance reviews were better than Sweeney’s.

So even if the employer can make up a plausible story, that does not mean that the employer wins and the fired employee loses. Age discrimination lawyer know how to dig deeper to uncover real issues that may lead to another unlawful reason. The key issue is creating a question of fact – a dispute. This will get the age discrimination claim to a jury. That is a key because faced with this possibility, most cases will settle.

If you think that you were terminated because of your age – even if your employer gave you a different reason, you should contact an attorney immediately. Remember, in Ohio according to Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02(N) , you may only have 180 days from the date of your termination to take action!

If you are an employee over the age of 40 years old and believe that you are being discriminated because you are older than other employees; or have be wrongfully terminated or fired instead of someone younger or were replaced with some younger than you, you may have an age discrimination claim under Ohio law or the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Even if you are not sure about your age discrimination claim, you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Age discrimination claims have very short statute of limitations, which means that you only have a very short amount of time to figure out if you have an age discrimination claim and take action. It is unlawful for employers to treat older employees differently. At the free initial consultation, you can tell us the specifics about how “my boss did …” or what happened on “my job.”

Disclaimer:

The materials available at the top of the age discrimination blog page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any age discrimination claim questions or any particular employment law issue that you may have. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship for your employment law needs. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.