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I am very sorry to hear about your situation at work. Discrimination on the basis of age (provided you are 40 years old or older) is illegal in the state of California. However, in order for the discrimination to be actionable, some sort of "adverse employment action" must be taken against you. The courts have developed a rather specific definition for what an "adverse employment action" is, and while that definition is rather broad, it would not typically encompass an employer-initiated hiring freeze that prevented you from hiring necessary support staff.
If you can demonstrate that you are being given an impossible workload in comparison to other managers and that this is being done for the sole purpose of driving you out due to your age, that would technically constitute actionable discrimination, but as you can imagine, proving all of these things would be extremely difficult without some sort of direct evidence (i.e. a statement from your employer indicating that this is their intent). As the plaintiff, the burden of proof would fall on your shoulders to prove these allegations.
Although no adverse employment action may yet have occurred, it seems clear that there is a prejudice against you due to your age. I am very sorry about that. The best thing to typically do in this circumstance is keep a written record of all instances of discriminatory conduct against you. Remarks made by other employees, your boss, actions taken against you that are age motivated, etc. Jot down what happened, the date and time and the people involved. Then, if you are fired or demoted or some other adverse employment action is taken against you, you will have compiled all the necessary evidence to make a claim.
An individual who believes he or she has been the subject of unlawful discrimination and wishes to file a lawsuit must first file a formal complaint of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue an authorization to sue after they investigate the claim. A claimant need to file with both agencies. Finally, if an individual in your circumstance decides to sue, they must not miss their deadline. Under federal law in California, a claimant has 300 days from an act of discrimination to file a complaint.
For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm
For information on how to bring a claim through the EEOC, visit this link: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm
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