Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Can you tell me how old you are? And can you tell me how many employees your employer has?
I am 53 years old, and the company I work for is a major corporation ( global ) but at my location about 450 employee's
Thank you. The reason I asked that is that there are certain laws that come into play based upon the amount of employees that the employer has. In your situation, it's clear that they would all apply. Statements made about your age and gender could be the basis for discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and The Civil Rights Act (CRA, Title VII) respectively. Note that it's not enough to show that the bosses are jerks. They have to be actively discriminating against you based on age, gender, race, religion, or disability. In your situation, I would suggest that you file a complaint with the EEOC (you can find your nearest field office here: http://www.eeoc.gov/field/). You can file it based upon the age and gender remarks.
Now I would also suggest contacting HR if you have not already and specifically say that you believe that these statements violate the ADEA ,CRA, and Title VII. Using those laws and the names of the laws would show that you are more knowledgeable than the average employee, and should, in theory, make HR more receptive to the complaint (because they would have a duty to act).
If they fail to act after having reasonable notice, there could be greater penalties assessed against the company.
As for the bullying, that's a bit more difficult to make out a private cause of action. The only "cause of action" that I could see here would be "intentional infliction of emotional distress" (IIED).
To make a case for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must prove all of the elements of the offense, including “extremely outrageous conduct.” and the actual suffering of emotional distress. In considering the actual suffering, the court looks to the intensity and duration of the bad conduct – the resulting distress must be so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it. One court has said: “Illinois case law makes clear that under no circumstances would mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions or other trivialities qualify as outrageous conduct. Rather, the nature of the defendant’s conduct must be so extreme as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as intolerable in a civilized community.”
That's a bit more difficult to win such a case, because you would need to prove physical manifestations of the distress (testified by a medical professional), as well as the conduct itself. Again, being a jerk is not enough. It has to be so egregious and extreme as to be intolerable in a civilized community.
As such, I would think that your best bet would be the complaint with the EEOC, and see where it goes from there.
The good thing is that once you file a discrimination complaint, there are "anti retaliation" provisions of the law, meaning that if they retaliate against you for filing the complaint (even if the complaint was ultimately found to be meritless) that would allow you to file a completely separate complaint for retaliation.
good luck with that, the only thing in Il that the eeoc wants to handle is of a sexual nature ( if they made advances ). HR person is a nit wit
Have you actually already filed with the EEOC?
If not, you might be surprised. More often than not I find that it's the intake specialist more so than a "pattern" or "practice" of the office that gets the case referred on, so I would certainly still try to file one. Again, that gives you more protection anyway merely as a matter of filing, because if they ramp up the discrimination, you can file a retaliation complaint as well (and sue them in court for that).
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
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