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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7141
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My mother is nearly 60 years old. For the past 10 years or

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My mother is nearly 60 years old. For the past 10 years or so she has been working as a waitress at Marie Callendars in Fresno, CA. For several years now, she has been putting up with comments from the manager there about her age. He would routinely call her "grandma" and make comments like "why don't you just start getting social security and stay home." My mom doesn't have a husband or savings or other career skills to fall back on so she stayed on.

A month or so ago, the manager started messing with her schedule. Keeping her off until the night before and then reprimanding her when she didn't show up for a shift she didn't even know about. She now no longer has a job, he just phased her out.

As I understand it, there is age discrimination, at least in the state of California. As a manager, I've had to take classes on this.

Can you comment on the merits of a case here? She has plenty of witnesses to this, both current and former colleagues she worked with.

Thank you.
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. I am very sorry to hear about your mother's treatment at her former job and can understand your frustration.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and state law make discrimination and harassment on the basis of age illegal in the state of California. The facts you describe suggest both potential claims.

In order to have a claim for hostile work environment (harassment) on the basis of age, a claimant must demonstrate that the harassment they experienced was either "severe" or "pervasive" (meaning occurring over a period of time) and that the harassment changed the essential terms of employment.

Although the comments your mother endured would likely not be regarded as "severe," in the aggregate they were most likely pervasive and thus would give rise to a claim for emotional distress and other damage.

It would seem an indiivudal in your mother's circumstance likely also has a claim for discrimination--that is, basing adverse employment action unlawfully on age. This claim is proven as most such claims are--circumstantially. Many inappropriate comments about your mother's age have been made. There are witnesses. In light of how your mother's age was obviously viewed disfavorably, it is reasonable to assume that age was a motivator in phasing her out of the schedule and ultimately letting her go.

It is impossible to assign statistical probabilities to the success of any legal claim. It is also difficult to assign a value. What I can say, however, is that both hostile work environment and discrimination claims would seem probable under the facts and that an individual in your mother's circumstance would be entitled to a bare minimum of lost wages for the time she has now spent unemployed as a result of this discriminatory employment action.

I would continue plugging away tryign to contact local attorneys who may be willing to take the case. For referrals, I am a fan of http://www.avvo.com, which allows you to search attorneys via practice area and location.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7141
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Roman,

I should also add that should your mother choose to pursue a claim, her first step would be to file a formal complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Here is a link: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question,please don't forget to rate my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.

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