Age discrimination complaints are on the rise as the average age of American workers continues to increase, and Americans continue to work longer before retiring. In fact, a recent Forbes article notes that according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the number of age-related complaints in recent years has skyrocketed. From 1997 and 2007 there were between 16,000 and 19,000 annual age discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC. Since 2008, that number has increased to between 23,000 and 25,000 age discrimination complaints annually. As your Atlanta discrimination attorney can tell you, it is illegal under federal law for an employer with 20 or more employees to discriminate against an employee who is 40 years or older.
Despite the large increase in EEOC age discrimination complaints, the vast majority of them are unsuccessful. In fact, it has become increasingly difficult for litigants to win age discrimination lawsuits, as they can be tricky cases to prove. For instance, most employers do not make overtly discriminatory remarks that make it obvious that discrimination has occurred. Rather, discrimination tends to be more subtle, and employers are better at covering their tracks.
Likewise, your Atlanta discrimination attorney has observed that court decisions in recent years have made successful age discrimination lawsuits more difficult, as well. While being laid off in the past as an older worker who earned a higher salary gave rise to an inference of age discrimination, courts now recognize the employer’s choice stems from the desire to save money. Thus, letting an older worker go isn’t necessarily about age discrimination – rather, it’s about eliminating a worker that makes a higher salary in order to cut costs. Similarly, an employee in an age discrimination case in the past only had to prove that age was a factor in the employer’s decision to take adverse action against him or her. However, recent court decisions have heightened the employee’s standard of proof, forcing the employee to prove that age was the employer’s primary motivating factor.
Aside from these legal difficulties, there are other negative aspects to filing age discrimination complaints. Maintaining such a claim can be an emotionally draining process and affect other areas of your life. Proceeding with a lawsuit rather than negotiating a settlement with your employer can be costly from a purely financial sense. Furthermore, whether your claim is successful or not, it can hurt your future career. Other employers may be hesitant to hire you if you have brought an age discrimination claim against an employer in the past. All of these factors tend to combine to create an atmosphere in which successful age discrimination complaints can be difficult to maintain in the United States.
With that said, workplace discrimination based on age is a violation of the law in many cases, and you may be entitled to compensation if your employer violated the law. Fortunately, your experienced Atlanta discrimination attorney stands ready to assist you in your age discrimination claim. Contact us today for an appointment so that we can provide you with a thorough evaluation of your age discrimination claim.