Best Age Discrimination Attorney Response: My boss said he has to do layoffs for business reasons, but the only employees he laid off are all older than 40, is that legal or employment discrimination? If my job is laying me off but keeping younger less experienced co-workers, can I sue for age discrimination? I’m old and I’m being let go for no reason whatsoever, do I have a wrongful termination claim against my former employer?
As you may already know, employment under Ohio law is “at-will” which means your boss can hire or fire you at any time for any reason, well mostly any reason. The only time the law protects an employee from an adverse employment action is if the employer is treating the employee differently based upon their position in a protected class.
Age is a protected class under the law of the state of Ohio (R.C. § 4112.02(N), R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14) and the federal statute, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). The ADEA makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s age.”
Age discrimination cases do not always appear in the form of outlandish statements or behaviors by an employer against older employees. There will always be cases of a boss, manager, or supervisor making comments about an employee enjoying retirement or telling them they seem “so young for their age.” These cases can be pretty cut and dry forms of age discrimination. The more common cases of age discrimination, however, often appear as “layoffs” or “reductions in labor” due to alleged “business reasons.” These cases often involve an employer who wishes to reduce the costs of labor by getting rid of older employees who are highly compensated because of their years of experience or the large amount of health care and retirement benefits they utilize in comparison to their younger counterparts.
In a recent age discrimination case against DSW Inc., the situation appeared to be a simple workforce reduction due to business reasons common in the retail industry- lack of sales which in turn caused a severe lack of revenue. No doubt many of the DSW employees being laid off at the time thought they were merely the victims of a bad economy. According to the age discrimination law suit that was filed, this certainly was not the case as many of the managers required to fire staff members noticed DSW required them to target the older employees for the mandatory force reduction. Many of these managers recognized that these instructions were improper and did not keep them secret. Well, as you can imagine, these fired older people were not very happy about being sent packing after giving their loyalty for years to their employer. So, they sued. And, when DSW was faced with their managers testifying about their nefarious age discrimination plans, DSW decided to settle and paid $900,000 and gave other consideration.
Keep in mind that business can have layoffs or reductions in force that are for lawful reasons. However, if you notice a pattern or if you are a manager being asked to layoff employees of a certain age, you should seek legal advice to discuss your case.
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.”
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