What to Do If You’re Being Subjected to Age Discrimination
If the company hands you a severance agreement and you think you’ve been targeted for layoff due to your age, contact an employment lawyer. They might be able to negotiate a better severance package for you. Plus you might be giving up rights that you don’t need to sign away. Always read and understand before you sign.
If you’re being harassed (something that doesn’t affect you in the wallet) because of your age, then the Supreme Court says that you have to report it, if the company has a harassment policy, and give them a chance to fix the situation. Only if they don’t remedy it, or if the harassment continues, can you file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state agency. If you just up and quit, or if you skip this step, you may lose your right to sue for discrimination.
If it’s an adverse employment action, like denial of a promotion, a demotion, suspension without pay, or termination/layoff, you need to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (they’re at http://www.eoc.gov or your state/county/city agency before you can sue.
You will have either 180 days or 300 days from the date of discrimination, depending on your state, to file with the EEOC.
Your state/county/city might have different deadlines. Don’t miss your deadline! This is a requirement before you’re allowed to sue.
Federal employees have a completely different set of rules for filing a discrimination claim. They have 45 days to see their designated EEOC counselor, with an entire investigative process that circumvents the EEOC. There’s a morass of tangled hoops to jump through, so if you work for the federal government be particularly careful not to miss any deadlines.
Most importantly, if you think you’re the victim of age discrimination, gather your notes and evidence and go see an employment lawyer in your state, so that you can find out whether you have a potential claim and what you need to do under your state’s laws.
~ Donna Ballman