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IS FORCED RETIREMENT LEGAL?

HELP! I FEEL LIKE MY EMPLOYER IS FORCING ME TO RETIRE!

After several years of dedicated service, some employees may feel pressure from their employers to retire earlier than they desire. When and how to retire is often times a big decision and these days, many Americans have chosen to continue working well into their late 60s and 70s. If you are feeling pressure to retire, chances are that your employer may be breaking the law—including subjecting you to unlawful Age Discrimination. It is important that you know your rights.

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), it is unlawful for an employer to take any “adverse employment actions” against an employee because the employee is 40 or more years old. In addition, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) ensures that all workers over the age of 40 have a fair chance at pursuing or continuing employment. These laws provide protection to employees from age discrimination in every area of employment, including promotion and termination. In other words, if you are over the age of 40, your employer cannot treat you any differently than from other employees and could be held liable for doing so.

FEELING LIKE YOU ARE BEING FORCED TO RETIRE?

There are many reasons why a person may choose to retire. For example, some do so to travel; others choose to help care for their grandkids; while others are forced to retire because of health reasons. Sometimes a lay-off may force an early retirement as well. However, there are times when an employer may pressure its employee into a forced retirement for illegal reasons, including but limited to, due to Age Discrimination.

Forced retirement for these employees may be the result of a bias because of their age, which is often based upon unfair assumptions, in addition to the desire of many employers to employ younger workers over older workers. Additionally, an employer may question its employee’s ability to handle the everyday tasks and responsibilities associated with the job, as the employee gets older.

When this happens, aging workers can experience any number of discriminatory situations, including situations in which a supervisor or manager openly uses biased comments such as calling the employee a “old school,” or “outdated” or remarks that an employee is “too old” for a certain position, or that the employer is looking or “new” and/or “young blood.”

Another less obvious tactic and form of Age Discrimination includes the hiring or promotion of younger, less qualified employees over more senior, older employees. In addition, showing favoritism or differences in treatment between older and younger workers are sometimes signals that a forced retirement is an illegal violation of the law.

Other employers may attempt to force a retirement by slowly stripping the older employee of his/her responsibilities and transferring the responsibilities to a younger worker, or transferring the older employee to a less desirable or more junior job position.

TO PROVE AGE DISCRIMINATION, AN EMPLOYEE MUST PROVE:

Under both the FEHA and the ADEA, the employee has the burden to prove unlawful Age Discrimination, including a forced retirement. If you suspect that your employer is forcing you to retire at a certain age, it is important to be aware of the elements necessary to prove Age Discrimination. To do so, at a minimum, the following elements must be proven:

  • An employer took an “adverse employment action” against you
  • At the time of the “adverse employment action,” you were 40 years old or older
  • The “adverse employment action” was caused by your age

These are just a few of the necessary elements to prove Age Discrimination. Each situation is different and you are encouraged to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to assist you with your particular situation and to help determine if you are a victim of Age Discrimination and forced retirement.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services, or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue.

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