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When Does My Age Discrimination Claim Get Old?

| Mar 19, 2019 | Age Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Wrongful Termination |

Best Ohio Age Discrimination Attorney Answer: How long do I have to file an age discrimination claim? Does filling a grievance with my union affect my age discrimination claim? What can I do to make sure my age discrimination claim does not expire? What is my wrongful termination case worth?

Even big-league employers such as the Cleveland Cavaliers are not above discriminating against employees because of their age. No, I am not talking about moving on from an aging Lebron James. (I will pause for the boos or cheers). The Cavaliers are currently facing an age discrimination law suit from former Assistant Coach Jim Boylan. According to clevescene.com Coach Boylan filed a suit in October 2018 claiming that the Cavaliers terminated him due to his age. One of Coach Boylan’s main pieces of evidence is a voice mail from former Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue. In this voice mail Coach Lue tells Boylan that the Cavaliers were moving on from Boylan and that the team was looking for someone who was “a grinder and younger at the position.” Unfortunately, too many employees in Ohio hear comments like these on a frequent basis. Additionally, according to the lawsuit, the Cavs replaced Boylan with substantially younger assistant coaches. At the time of his termination, Boylan was 63 years old and the replacements were about 20 years younger. Given the audio recording, there is likely direct evidence of age discrimination that will let the case get to a jury. So, how did the case make it this far. From our outside perspective, Boylan and his lawyers made a demand that the Cavs considered outrageous – over $6 million. Given that Boylan was making $500,000 per year when he was wrongfully fired, that amount equates to 12 years of lost wages – which assumes that Boylan never gets another job and could not reasonably find another job in a reasonable amount of time. According to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas docket, the parties are currently engaged in discovery with trial set for June 12, 2019. A lot can happen between now and then, but Boylan likely fired his best shot when he filed the age discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit without making a demand within a reasonable range. While the evidence is likely strong enough to get to a jury, Boylan might win but still lose. By this, I mean, that he can get a jury verdict, but still come in way under his demand. On the other hand, one of the key witnesses is going to be Coach Lue, who was unceremoniously fired only six games into the season. I wonder how favorably he will be for the Cavs or as a former employee, will he be willing to spill some secret details on his former employer?

At The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, our employment discrimination lawyers frequently find ourselves helping employees who face age discrimination by their boss, manager and/or supervisor. For some reason, these employers just don’t get that making employment decisions based on the age of older workers is prohibited under Ohio and federal law. Specifically, as our employment law attorneys have blogged about before, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) as well as Ohio law (R.C. § 4112.02(N), R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14), make 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 such individual is over the age of 40. (See Can I Sue For Age Discrimination? – Call The Right Attorney; Can My Job Change Rules Against Older Workers?; I Wasn’t Promoted Because I’m Older! – Call The Right Attorney; and Can My Employer Change Company Policy To Force Out Older Employees? I Need The Top Age Discrimination Attorney In Ohio!)

Usually, an employee can file an employment discrimination claim under Ohio without restriction as long as it is filed within the time period proscribed under the law. This time period is referred to as the “statute of limitations” and it is the legal time frame a person has to file a law suit. If a party attempts to file a law suit outside of the statute of limitations the law suit is automatically thrown out, that’s why these timeframes are important!

For some types of employment discrimination, such as discrimination based on race/color, religion, gender/sex, national origin, and disability discrimination an employee has a statute of limitations of six years to bring a state law claim against their discriminatory employer. (Note if you have been discriminated against based on any of these traits please do not wait six years to Call the Right Attorney. The sooner you speak to our employment discrimination attorneys the better.)

Compare the six year statute of limitation for race/color, religion, gender/sex, national origin, and disability discrimination to the 180-day statute of limitations for age discrimination claims. This means that an employee who is looking to bring an age discrimination claim against their employer has the short window of 180-days to bring an age discrimination claim under R.C. § 4112.02. An employee can also file an age discrimination claim against its employer under R.C. § 4112.14, which has a six-year statute of limitations. However, R.C. § 4112.14 limits the amount of damages that an employee can recover because it only allows for economic damages such as lost wages and attorneys’ fees and does not allow an employee to recover compensatory (emotional distress) or punitive (punishment) damages. This could make the difference in recovering $100,000 or $10,000 for an age discrimination case.

You may be asking, when does this 180-day countdown start? The Ohio Supreme Court has held that the statute of limitations for state law age discrimination claims begins to run on the day of “the final discriminatory act.” (See Oker v. Ameritech Corp., 89 Ohio St.3d 223, 729 N.E.2d 1177, 1178–79 (2000)). Normally a “final discriminatory act” is the employer terminating the employee. However termination is not the only discriminatory act. As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged before there are a variety of “adverse employment actions” which can amount to a “final discriminatory act.” (See. Attorney Top Answer: What Is An Adverse Employment Action?; What is an Adverse Employment Action Under Ohio Law?; and Top Discrimination Lawyer Answer: Was I Wrongfully Fired If I Did Not Accept An Unfavorable Transfer?). These actions can include firing, demotions, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, a material loss of benefits, suspensions, and other indices unique to a particular situation. (See Burlington Indus., Inc. v. Ellerth (1998), 524 U.S. 742, 761). The important thing to remember is that once this action occurs your countdown to file your claim has began and you need to Call The Right Attorney ASAP!

To help clarify all of this legal mumbo jumbo let us take a moment and look at a hypothetical case. Bob is a warehouse employee working at XYZ company. Bob is 50 years old and has been a great employee for XYZ company for the past 15 years. Bob is the oldest employee at XYZ, and he notices that lately XYZ has been firing the older workers and bringing in younger employees to replace them. On March 1st, Bob is called into his boss’ office and his boss says to Bob “You have been a great worker for the company but we want to get someone who is a bit younger, so they can bring more energy and hustle to the position, so we are going to have to let you go today.” When does Bob have to file a suit in order for it to be within the statute of limitations for R.C. 4112.02? I will save you the math, 180 days from March 1st would be August 28th. In order to recover the greatest amount of damages, Bob has to file his lawsuit by August 28th. This doesn’t mean he should wait until the last possible moment to Call The Right Attorney! Bob should call our employment discrimination attorneys as soon as possible because it takes time to get the claim in the best shape to file.

Another important note, if you are a union member filing a grievance with your union does not count as filing a law suit for the statute of limitations! A union only represents employees interests that were negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and not an individual’s legal protections under state and federal law. While you are legally required to exhaust your remedies under the CBA, it is not your only avenue. Our employment discrimination lawyers often have clients who have been wrongfully terminated tell us that they filed a grievance with their Union, and they have been waiting to hear the results only to find out that they lost substantive rights during the delay.

Waiting on the results of your union grievance can eat up precious time that an attorney needs to best gather facts, draft documents, and file the necessary documents with the court. Just like Rome, a strong legal case is not built in a day. Even worse, waiting on your union can jeopardize your statute of limitations. Let’s say you were illegally terminated because of your age, if it takes your Union 181 days to walk your termination grievance through the necessary prosses guess what? The courts will not allow you to bring an age discrimination claim under R.C. § 4112.02 which means that the damages you can recover for your claim will be severely limited.

So right now, you are probably wondering, if I am illegally terminated because of my age what should I do, call an attorney or file a grievance with my union? The answer is both! File a grievance with your union and Call The Right Attorney! Our employment attorneys can take the necessary steps to prepare your case and preserve your claim while your grievance works its way through the bargaining process.

The biggest takeaway you should get from this blog is that when it comes to age claims in Ohio time is of the essence! Even if you have filed a grievance with your union don’t wait! Call

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 Call our office 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 fired me today and replaced me with younger workers” or what happened on “my job.”

Disclaimer:

This employment discrimination law website is an advertisement of lawyer services. The wrongful termination 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 thinking, “What should I do if my manager keeps telling me to retire?”, “I’m being discriminated against my supervisor thinks I’m too old to do the job”, or “How do I if find the best age discrimination lawyers in Ohio?”, 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.