Archives for September 6, 2021

Millennials Might Have Age Discrimination Claims

The various generations of the United States have different unique rights as they reach certain benchmarks. Some benchmarks aim to protect older Americans from discrimination, while others might be in place to prevent teenagers from serving as president.

Age discrimination is a complex concept. In some cases, you may need to reach a certain age before you’re qualified for a particular role. An employer cannot legally consider a person’s age in other contexts. One group of Americans about to experience the realities of protection against age discrimination is that of Millennials, the oldest of which will turn 40 in 2021, opening the door to ADEA protections.

How Does the ADEA Protect Americans From Age Discrimination?

The ADEA, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, protects the rights of Americans who reached the age of 40 or older. As reported by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the ADEA prohibits employment discrimination against persons aged 40 years or older.

The act outlines Congress’s declaration that “in the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs.” The ADEA enables individuals of all ages equal access to employment, regardless of age.

The Millennial Population Is Aging and Approaching or Under ADEA Protection

To understand who we are talking about, we’ll take a brief moment to explain what the Millennial generation is. According to the Pew Research Center in a recent article titled “Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins,” the Millennial generation was born between 1981 and 1996, ages 25 and 40 in 2021. The Pew Research Center considers any individual born from 1997 onward to be part of the population of Americans categorized as Generation Z. Millennials are aging, and under the age 40 outset of ADEA protection, may have arrived there.

ADEA and Age Discrimination Lawsuits and Damages

If your employer discriminated against you because of your age, you may qualify for an ADEA-based cause of action against the employer who discriminated. Speak with an attorney to determine the best course of action to pursue recovery from your damages. In some instances of age discrimination, the law may entitle you to punitive damages beyond only your compensatory damages. However, if you file under the ADEA, the law may preclude you from recovering anything beyond compensatory damages.

The purpose of compensatory damages is to compensate victims for the expenses incurred due to the discrimination, including lost wages, the cost associated with a job search, and other related expenses. Punitive damages are those which courts can award you to punish the employer for the act of discrimination. If your case were to go to a jury, the availability of punitive damages could substantially change the outcome of your settlement or case.

An Experience of Age Discrimination Does Not Guarantee a Settlement

The unique circumstances of your age discrimination case will determine whether you are capable of recovering and to what degree. Having gone through an experience of age discrimination does not automatically mean you will recover a settlement, or even that you will win in court. The ADEA protects employees in the US from age discrimination. However, if you think an employer has discriminated against you, it is not as simple as demanding a settlement. You, or better yet, an experienced attorney, must carefully assess the facts and related law and then your claims rooted in them to support your ability to demonstrate a case.

Some employers that engage in age discrimination are unwilling to settle and will require that you bring your case to court. The size of the employer, their history with employment lawsuits, and their available resources will markedly influence the outcome of your case. It is important to assemble your evidence correctly and to package your case in the most advantageous way possible. An attorney can help you not only determine if you have an age discrimination lawsuit but also maximize the recovery you might achieve.

The Size of the Employer Will Often Determine the Size of Your in-Court Settlement

If you are a Millennial and have an ADEA-based claim of discrimination, the amount you can recover if you bring your case to a federal court is limited. The federal court can award up to $50,000 if the employer has between 15 and 100 employees, up to $100,000 if they have 101 to 200 employees, $200,000 if the employer has between 201 and 500 employees, and finally, a maximum of $300,000 for companies with over 500 employees. These amounts, however, account for only the in-court maximums you can recover.

If you are a Millennial and have experienced age discrimination, the strength of your case may lead to a settlement that exceeds the maximums offered in federal court. Litigation can be costly, and an attorney can best advise you as to what your options are.

At what age does ADEA kick in?

The ADEA protections kick in when you have reached the age of 40, at which point the law protects you against age discrimination in covered workplaces.

What are Millennials, and when were they born?

The Pew Research Center assigns the term millennial to the generation of Americans born between 1981 and 1996.

Are Millennials covered under the ADEA?

Those Millennials born in 1981 will reach the age of 40 in 2021 and thereby qualify for ADEA-based protections in the workplace.

Is an ADEA-based lawsuit my best option to recover from an age discrimination suit?

Not necessarily. For example, if your claim involves punitive damages, a suit based on the ADEA may prevent you from recovering them.

Can an attorney help me with my age discrimination lawsuit?

Aaron Olsen
Attorney, Aaron Olsen

An attorney can help you understand whether you have a claim, and if so, the damages available to you and how to maximize them. A lawyer can also fight for those damages, making sure to meet all filing deadlines, following all proper procedures, negotiating with the employer or insurance company, and arguing your case in court if necessary.

If you think you have an employment discrimination claim, call an employment rights lawyer today for a claim evaluation.

Know Your FMLA/CFRA Rights

The Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, was established to protect workers who might encounter situations that require them to leave work to attend to personal or family needs that surpass their ability to continue their employment. FMLA leave is not permanent but rather allows employees to take time off in particular situations. In this article, we’ll cover the instances in which you may take FMLA leave and your rights when doing so.

What can you use FMLA for?

  • Family
  • Health
  • Birth

If You Work for a Covered Employer, Your Group Healthcare Benefits Must Continue

According to the United States Department of Labor, the FMLA entitles employees who work for covered employers to take job-protected, unpaid leave that the FMLA specifies that are related to the medical needs of your family or yourself, and other events such as a new child joining the family. When you are away from work under FMLA-covered leave, your covered employer is required to allow you to continue your group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions if you had not used FMLA leave to attend to a personal or family situation covered under the FMLA.

Your Employer Must Allow You to Return to Your Job

When working for a covered employer, the primary benefit of FMLA is your capacity to maintain your health insurance coverage while away during a potentially life-threatening situation. Your work insurance will protect your health and that of your loved ones, which could mean the difference between life and death or financial stability and bankruptcy. An additional key benefit is that your employer must hold your job for you.

The duration of covered FMLA leave is 12 weeks, nearly three months. As noted by the Employment Development Department of California, the FMLA enables you to attend to your or a family member’s serious health conditions or bond with a new child in your family. How to add a new member covered under the FMLA varies.

Your New Child in Your Family Can Be Born, Adopted, or Fostered

It is important to note that FMLA covers you when your family has had a new child. FMLA does not confine the term “new child” to only instances in which there has been a newborn in your family. According to the Department of Labor, the FMLA covers bonding with a new child—not only a newborn but also an adopted child. Families that foster a child may take FMLA leave, but only during the first year of a placement of a foster child in your family’s home.

The CFRA Provides You With Additional Protections if Your Employer Is in California

The CFRA is the California Family Rights Act, which according to the Employment Development Department of the State of California, works in conjunction with the FMLA to protect the rights of workers when they or their families encounter a situation of change or health challenge. You may take the leave to care for yourself or a family member, to bond with a new child, or to participate in a qualifying event due to a family member’s military deployment overseas.

You Must Meet Specific Criteria to Qualify for FMLA/CFRA

For an employee to qualify for FMLA, they must meet particular criteria. The employee must have worked for at least 12 months for a covered employer. During that time, they must have worked 1,250 hours in the 12 months before the start of FMLA leave. Under the FMLA, the employee also must work at a worksite with more than 50 employees under the employer’s employment within 50 miles of that particular worksite.

FMLA covers private employers who have over 50 employees on the payroll during any 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. All public employers are covered by FMLA, regardless of the number of employees they have. Paid employees, unpaid, part-time, or on commission, are still generally covered by the FMLA if they meet the other necessary criteria for qualification.

The requirements to meet FMLA can be challenging to understand in some circumstances. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and options if your employer does not respect your rights.

Family Medical Leave Act FAQs

What does FMLA stand for?

FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act, established by the government to protect workers’ rights in times of change or health challenges in their families.

For what purposes can I use FMLA?

The key purposes of FMLA are health, family, and children, meaning you may take it if there is a serious health problem with yourself or a family member, or you’ve added a child through your home through birth, adoption, or fostering.

How long does FMLA-covered leave last?

FMLA-covered leave lasts for up to 12 weeks, after which time you may return to your job.

What are the key benefits of FMLA leave concerning my job?

The key benefits of FMLA leave are that you may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for yourself, your family, or a new child, and during that time, you may keep your group health insurance from your employer under the same terms, and your employer must return your job to you upon completion of the FMLA leave.

What are my options if my employer refuses to maintain my insurance or return my job?

Aaron M. Olsen
Attorney, Aaron Olsen

If you have taken FMLA leave from a covered employer, and your rights are not being honored, a lawyer is a great advocate to protect your rights and determine your options for recovering damages.

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