Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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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
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
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."
Do you know if this company has a history of kicking people out once they reach a certain age?
Because doing this to "long term employees" is separate from discriminating against a person because of their age.
In order to have a cause of action, you would need to specifically reference facts related to this.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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I also meant to type file above instead of field. I apologize for the mistype
Is this person rough on younger long term employees?
Do any of those exist?
Especially anyone under 40?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
This is because in situations like this, companies always try to "create" legitimate business interests for letting someone go
or reducing their employment.
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.
Does that make sense?
That being said, if you feel that you want to handle this yourself, you can absolutely file a discrimination claim with the EEOC here:
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