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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6266
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am worried that my company may be making a case against me

Customer Question

I am worried that my company may be making a case against me because of my age. We reorganized my department and I took on additional responsibilities with the caveat that I would be able to add staff to support the responsibilities. Right after the reorganization a new director came on board and at our first meeting he asked how old I was. After repeated requests for more help and denials the company now has a hiring freeze. The workload is now insurmountable. I also see the same thing happening for one of my other managers who is older than me. I was able to get him a promotion work with a prior promise of more help but yet the was arefusal to supply it. I am 55 years old, what can I do to protect myself?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service.

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

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6266
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Actually, the decision not to hire came before the hiring freeze. It was a false promise," take on the additional work load and we'll get you the staff to support the effort"- this did not happen and then the hiring freeze was instituted.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your positive rating of my service and for your reply. What you describe likely would still not constitute an adverse employment action, as employers are not typically bound by such promises to hire additional staff.

As noted above, it would be very wise to document all comments and incidents that suggest you are being targeted due to your age. In the event of termination, demotion, or something else, you will have already built your case.

I wish you the very best both personally and professionally.

Kindest regards XXX XXXX wishes to you.

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