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Brandon, Esq.
Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1836
Experience:  Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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I have been with the se company for 30 years and have seen

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I have been with the se company for 30 years and have seen a lot of changes and held a lot of positions. As technology has developed and changed I have gone from being a manager of a department of 7 to now a general support/production manager person for a department of 6. I have never had a negative review or told there were issues that I needed to work on in all the years I have worked here. Actually quite the opposite...i was told I am the go to person, a team player, give it to me and people knew it would get done, etc. In May of this year after an annual client event I went on a weeks vacation as I have every year for the last 14 years. When I came back the client manager for the main client that I work on said she was taking all of the client work and giving it to someone else. She said she needed someone here all the time... I have worked on this clien for 17 years. This is also a very complex client with 12+ different plans that the client manager had mostly in her head and written down in various notes but not in any structured order. I was then told by the dept manager that the client manager felt that she had tried to get me to understand the difference between groups and I was not cooperative (this was the first I had heard of anything like this). The client manage then makes a binde of all the different groups and creates a check list that goes with each project, and then have it all to the dept assistant. This took over half of my workload away from me. When I talked to my supervisor and said I was upset about the decision and was concerned that I was being pushed out the door, the only response I got was "I can't tell you not to be concerned." Then when talking to another department manager that i work with she said that she was told by my supervisor that I am uncooperative and refuse to perform certain tasks, all which were totally untrue and which would really give me a lot of pull in the to be able to refuse to do something with no consequences. I have never been told any of this. When discussing my lack of available work to keep me busy with my supervisor we were trying to figure out what else I could do and it was suggested I go "go talk with other department and solicit work". Which is just not done in my company. Then I have heard that the news going around is that since half my work was pulled and given to someone else they are going to cut my hours and pay. In addition to this for the last 3 years during my annual review my supervisor has always ask what my timeline was (how much longer did i plan on working). She would say something along the lines that I was at the top of the pay scale and would not be getting much of a raise, if any, and then would say something along the lines that i should feel lucky, that at her "former life" ( meaning mercer) they did not keep long term employees. That they would attrition them out. (or something along those lines. But then I would get a descent bonus to make up for the lack of a raise). My question is do I have some legitimate concerns here for a possible discrimation suite or unfair labor practices? Do I have a right to ask to see my personnel file? Should I find an attorney and be ready for when they start "pushing me out the door". I had planned on working for another 4-5.5 years to age 62 or 63.5 for either early SS or eligibility for retiree medical through my employer, and also to continue to receive contributions to my 401k and profit sharing plan to have more money during retirement. I have lost hair and weight since this started due to the stress. I am 58 and live in WA state. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Brandon, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Employment-LawExpert :

Hello and thank you for your question today

Employment-LawExpert :

Are you online with me?

Employment-LawExpert :

Welcome to the chat

Employment-LawExpert :

You have many questions here, so I will try answer each one of them in turn starting with the easiest, and working into the more difficult ones

Employment-LawExpert :

In Washington, workers may request to inspect their personnel files at least once per year. Upon request by the worker, a business must make the personnel file available within a reasonable period of time. Former workers also have the same rights to review their personnel files as current workers. If your employer fails to provide your field, you would make a claim to the Washington state department of labor & industries and they would make sure you got your file

Employment-LawExpert :

Concerning your question regarding possible discrimination, under the ADEA, they cannot discriminate against any person because of their age. However, they are allowed to treat people unfairly due to a "legitimate business reason."

Employment-LawExpert :

Do you know if this company has a history of kicking people out once they reach a certain age?

Employment-LawExpert :

Because doing this to "long term employees" is separate from discriminating against a person because of their age.

Employment-LawExpert :

In order to have a cause of action, you would need to specifically reference facts related to this.

Employment-LawExpert :

This could be done by either 1) showing that there is a history of discrimination, 2) pointing to direct evidence of discrimination in your case, or 3) pointing to indirect evidence of discrimination in your case.

Employment-LawExpert :

So, in short, if you think they are doing this because of your pay, then there is not much you can do. If, however, you think this is a result of your age, then you should absolutely start looking for an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will want you to start documenting all incidences of discrimination immediately. They will want the time, the date, and any evidence relating to anything and everything involved. Including any witnesses to the incident

Employment-LawExpert :

If you decide to hire an attorney a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys willing to take your case prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.

Employment-LawExpert :

In a case like this, an attorney would take the case on contingency, which means that you would end up owing nothing out of pocket.

Employment-LawExpert :

You would be protected from "any adverse employment action" against you as a result any discrimination based on your age (other protected categories could be your gender, race, religion, genetic information, pregnancy, national origin, creed, or disability)

Customer: Yes I am online
Employment-LawExpert :

Additionally, if you have an employment contract stating that you can only be fired for cause, (or if you are a union employee) then what they are doing would be considered to be constructive termination, which would also be unlawful.

Employment-LawExpert :

Are you able to read my entire response above, and do you have any questions on anything I have said?

Employment-LawExpert :

Please tell me when you are finished reading

Employment-LawExpert :

I also meant to type file above instead of field. I apologize for the mistype

Customer: I am done reading ... This is a highly respected company and it does not have a history of discrimination. However this supervisor is new in the senior principal role and has been known to be extremely rough on older long term employees
Employment-LawExpert :

Is this person rough on younger long term employees?

Employment-LawExpert :

Do any of those exist?

Employment-LawExpert :

Especially anyone under 40?

Customer: If so I don't know about it. This supervisor is about 48 or 49 and female. And seems harder on females which is most of the staff she supervises
Employment-LawExpert :

If you are not a for cause employee, or part of a union, courts have made it very clear that they will not be the arbiters of disparate treatment that is not premised on a protected trait such as age, race or religion, reasoning that if this could form the basis for legal action, companies would loose the ability to properly run themselves, and we would see thousands of such lawsuits every day. This is certainly not to diminish your concerns here, but rather to explain the policy behind the law, which may assist with your understanding. That being said, there are very specific laws which prevent retaliation based on a complaint of a protected category.

Customer: Is it legal to keep asking how long someone plans to work at the company every year during review/raise time
Employment-LawExpert :

Thus, you should either 1) speak to an employment attorney in your area off of Martindale.com or other referral site and bring a claim for age discrimination, or 2) make a written complaint to HR stating that you believe this is happening to you because of age discrimination. Then, if any further adverse employment actions occurred to you, you would have a larger retaliation complaint against the company for retaliating against you because of your complaint.

Employment-LawExpert :

It is legal to ask this question, however, it definitely can lead to the the assumption that they are going to discriminate against you because of your age

Employment-LawExpert :

Any attorney would use this information as one of many arguments to show that they were just looking to get rid of you due to your age.

Employment-LawExpert :

You could also file a complaint directly with the EEOC under the ADEA, but in a situation like this, it is almost always better to get an attorney involved.

Employment-LawExpert :

This is because in situations like this, companies always try to "create" legitimate business interests for letting someone go

Employment-LawExpert :

or reducing their employment.

Employment-LawExpert :

An attorney will help make sure you document all of your positive performance, while bringing to light any conversation such as how long you plan on working for the company.

Employment-LawExpert :

Does that make sense?

Employment-LawExpert :

That being said, if you feel that you want to handle this yourself, you can absolutely file a discrimination claim with the EEOC here:

Customer: I would definitely want to get an attorney because I don't know enough to feel comfortable about taking this on myself. Thanks for your help
Employment-LawExpert :

Not a problem. Have I fully answered your question today?

Employment-LawExpert :

Please do not hesitate to ask any additional questions you may have concerning anything I have said above.

Customer: I believe so...thank you
Employment-LawExpert :

I am glad I could get you pointed in the right direction. Before you go, please do not forget to provide a positive rating so that I may receive credit for assisting you today.

Employment-LawExpert :

Have a wonderful rest of your day

Employment-LawExpert :

If you ever need to ask for me again, please feel free to do so here:

Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1836
Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
Brandon, Esq. and 4 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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