Age bias is a serious form of discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Whenever discrimination occurs, no matter the type, the goal of the law is to put the victim in the same position, or nearly the same, that she or he would have been had the discrimination never occurred.
The remedies available for age bias are dependent on what the discriminatory action was, and the effect it had on the victim. For instance, if an individual was wrongfully terminated because of discrimination, the remedy may include reinstatement to their original position and/or back pay and benefits the individual would have received.
Additionally, the employer will be required to stop all discriminatory practices and take the necessary steps to prevent future discrimination. Victims of discrimination will often be able to recover court costs and expert witness fees, in addition to attorney’s fees.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), where certain damages are not allowed, state laws may allow an employee to recover awards. For instance, the ADEA does not allow employees to collect punitive damages, but does allow liquidated damages.
In some states, employees who win an age discrimination case, will also be able to win punitive damages in especially egregious cases. Consult an experienced employment lawyer to find out the laws in your jurisdiction.
Age Discrimination and Liquidated Damages
In age-related discrimination cases, victims cannot recover compensatory or punitive damages. However, victims of age bias may be entitled to “liquidated damages.”
If the employee can prove that the employer’s age discrimination was willful, then the employee may be able to recover liquid damages up to the amount of lost back pay. Back pay is the time you have lost up until the trial.
If you were selected for a layoff because of your age, you may be able to recover front pay, which is the time lost from the time of the trial to the future. You must be able to show how the layoff affected you and your earning capacity.
If you lost your benefits, you may also be able to recover the value of those benefits. Since the laws regarding what you may be entitled to recover can be complex, consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for guidance.
Are there State Laws Against Age Discrimination?
Most states have their own laws in regard to age bias. In some states, laws reach further than the ADEA in their protections of older employees. Laws may cover smaller employers, and they also may provide additional types of damages otherwise not provided by the ADEA.
Do You Have to Pay Attorney’s Fees for an Age Discrimination Claim?
Under the ADEA, and written into some state laws, victims who have successful age discrimination lawsuits may also be awarded attorneys’ fees. This also means that your attorneys’ fees will not be deducted from your damages award.
If you have been the victim of age bias at your place of employment, you should contact an employment attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your rights, help you build your case, and provide guidance throughout the legal process. If necessary, your attorney will also be able to represent your best interests in court.