Nashville Age Discrimination Attorneys
Even with numerous state and federal laws prohibiting age discrimination, it is still a persistent issue in workplaces in Tennessee and across the country.
Employers may decide to favor younger candidates over older, more experienced workers due to biases about age, including older workers:
- Presenting higher wage and healthcare costs
- Being less reliable due to family obligations
- Pending retirement
- Being perceived as unable to adapt to new technologies and processes
As a result, older workers may be at a disadvantage in career advancement and new job opportunities.
If you believe you have been the victim of age discrimination in your workplace or at any point in the employment process – including hiring, promotion, work assignments, or termination – you need an experienced and skilled age discrimination attorney who will fight to get your compensation and justice for the discrimination that you have suffered.
Contact the Employment and Consumer Law Group now for a confidential consultation about your situation.
Legal Protections from Age Discrimination
State and federal laws protect workers in Tennessee from age discrimination. The two most important statutes are the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Tennessee Human Rights Act.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal statute that prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees based on their age, including:
- Failing or refusing to hire an individual based on age
- Setting compensation or the terms and conditions of employment based on age
- Limiting, segregating, or classifying employees based on age
The U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the ADEA and handling all employee complaints of violations.
The ADEA applies to all individuals who are at least 40 years old. Employers who employ 20 or more employees during each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or proceeding calendar year are subject to the provisions of the ADEA.
Tennessee Human Rights Act
The Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) prohibits age discrimination in Tennessee workplaces. The THRA applies to any Tennessee employer who employs eight or more employees in Tennessee. Like the ADEA, the age discrimination provisions of the THRA protect workers who are 40 years or older.
The THRA prohibits Tennessee employers from discriminating in employment decision based on age. The THRA does not prohibit employers from utilizing a bona fide seniority system or retirement, pension, or insurance plan whose purpose is not to evade the prohibitions on age discrimination.
The THRA further prohibits employer policies of involuntary retirement, except that an employer can require compulsory retirement of an employee who reaches the age of 65 who is employed in a bona fide executive or high policy-making position for the prior two years before retirement, if that employee is entitled to an annual retirement benefit of at least $44,000.
Examples of Age Discrimination in the Workplace
Age discrimination can take on many forms in the workplace, including some that directly affect your ability to be employed. Others may create a hostile and intolerable working environment.
Some common examples of age discrimination in the workplace include:
- Your manager, supervisor, or co-workers making offensive or disparaging comments about you and your age, or more generally about older workers or workers of your age
- Including age-related qualifications or terms in job postings or during interviews, such as “ideal age range” or more subtle ones like “overqualified,” unless age is a bona fide occupation qualification
- Employers having a practice of always hiring younger candidates over older, more qualified candidates
- Employers having a practice of preferring to terminate older candidates during layoffs
- Being passed over for promotion in favor of a younger, less qualified candidate
- Employers passing over older workers for more challenging assignments or otherwise attempting to “lighten the load” for older workers
- Encouraging or requiring older workers to retire (except where expressly permitted by law)
- Employers subjecting older workers to a performance improvement plan when those workers have a history of excellent performance review and no history of poor performance or discipline
- Employers subjecting older workers to discipline for behavior that younger workers are not disciplined for
If an employee files an age discrimination claim with a state agency or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that employee’s employer is then prohibited from retaliating against the employee.
Retaliation can take the form of any adverse employment action, such as:
- Transferring a worker to a less desirable assignment
- Moving the worker’s workplace
- Reducing pay or benefits
If an employee suffers retaliation from their employer after filing an age discrimination claim, the employee may have an additional claim for compensation against the employer. That is why it is critical for an employee pursuing an age discrimination claim to have the assistance of an experienced age discrimination lawyer who can recognize if the employee is being subjected to retaliation and can assert further legal claims to protect the employee.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of Age Discrimination
If you believe you may have been the victim of age discrimination, it is important that you first speak with a knowledgeable age discrimination attorney who can review the circumstances of your case and advise you as to whether you may have been subjected to age discrimination.
If you and your attorney determine you have a viable legal claim, your next step would be to file a complaint with the EEOC and/or the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. You should act quickly, as you generally only have about 180 days from the date of the discriminatory actions or the date you became aware of the actions to file a complaint.
Federal or state agencies will contact your employer and attempt to resolve the situation. If that is unsuccessful, the government may choose to take legal action on your behalf. However, that is a rare outcome, and instead, the agency will more likely issue you a “right to sue” letter, which authorizes you to file an age discrimination lawsuit.
Within 90 days of receiving your right to sue letter, you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation for any damages you’ve suffered as a result of age discrimination, including lost pay and benefits, reinstatement, expenses for a new job search, or damages caused by emotional and mental distress.
How Our Nashville Age Discrimination Lawyers Can Help
The dedicated and knowledgeable legal team of the Employment and Consumer Law Group can help you navigate the complex process of filing and pursuing an age discrimination complaint with the EEOC or filing a lawsuit for compensation.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and your legal rights and options, and to learn more about how our Nashville age discrimination lawyers can help you seek compensation.