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Los Angeles Age Discrimination Attorney

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Discrimination in the workplace is not only wrong but also illegal. While there are many acts of discrimination that are more easily recognizable, such as those based on race or gender, there are other forms of discrimination that are less known or more difficult to recognize. One such discriminatory behavior is directed against one’s age. Unfortunately, age discrimination is still prevalent in today’s workplace. Being discriminated against because of your age can be a horribly demoralizing and degrading experience that no one should suffer.

Employees who are 40 years old or older are protected against discrimination through both state and federal statutes. It is also unlawful for employers to allow a hostile work environment where employees are subject to actions, jokes, or comments based on their age. Moreover, employers cannot retaliate against an employee for reporting or complaining about such discrimination.

Recognizing Age Discrimination

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) defines discrimination in the workplace, including age. The protections begin as soon as a person reaches their 40th birthday. Once that age is reached, they are protected from:

  • Exclusion, expulsion, or restriction from union and labor organization memberships
  • Discrimination within apprenticeship and training programs
  • Assumptions made about an ability or disability to complete a job

Violations of age discrimination appear in different ways; it is more than just being fired or laid off because of their age. Sometimes the discrimination is against the benefits that an employee receives. Some of these may include:

  • Demotion or failure to promote qualified individuals
  • Salary reductions
  • Laid off or wrongfully terminated
  • Denied equal pay
  • Forced to quit or transfer

However, this type of discrimination can be difficult to recognize. After all, an employer will not directly tell their employee that it is because of age. There are many subtler forms of age discrimination:

  • Employees that have been with the company longer are being fired: Often, those who have been with the company the longest are paid higher salaries because of the longevity of their employment. When an employer uses higher salaries as the justification for reducing costs, it could target a larger number of older employees.
  • Joking or commenting on an employee’s age: While everyone loves a good joke, it must be done in good taste and refrain from being at the expense of others. When people’s characteristics are used as the basis for jokes, they may feel alienated or targeted. Even when someone implies that it is “just a joke,” it does not fix the perception associated with the joke.
  • Job performance reviews that have suddenly changed: When an employee consistently receives positive job performance reviews and is suddenly provided with a review that indicates underperformance, there needs to be justification for the change in the review. However, if there is none, it could be a sign the employer is trying to “force out” the employee by trying to justify their termination on the basis of poor job performance.
  • A company promotes a new culture focused on “young” and “hip”: Companies need to recruit young workers to help with the longevity of the company. However, in their pursuit of newer employees, they must not make it biased towards younger workers by not allowing elderly applicants the opportunity for employment. If an employer is specifically recruiting from younger pools of potential applicants, such as college students, they could be denying the opportunity to older applicants.
  • Forced retirement: Under FEHA, it is illegal for any retirement plan to include a mandatory retirement age. There are only two exceptions to mandatory retirement. The first are physicians who are over 70 years old or who work for a company that has compulsory retirement. The second are employees who are 65 years of age or older, have served in high policymaking positions for the previous two years, and are entitled to a full annual retirement benefit from the employer.

These circumstances, among others, are indicators that age discrimination may be occurring.

How to File a Complaint

The first step in any suspected discrimination case is to inform the employer or immediate supervisor. Under the law, there must be an exhaustive attempt to remedy the discrimination. If, however, an employer is informed of what is happening and fails to act on that information, or retaliates against an employee that reports the information, then they could be held liable.

After exhausting your in-house options, consulting with a Los Angeles employment lawyer will help determine the best course of action for your claim. Some situations may benefit from filing a claim in court, while other cases may benefit more from a claim to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Your attorney will know the best options available for the circumstances of your claim.

Damages Awarded for Age Discrimination

Filing a claim for age discrimination is more than just receiving compensation. It is about holding your employer accountable for creating an inequitable work environment. Part of that process is seeking damages that could include losses from:

  • Back pay and wages
  • Lack of salary changes from a promotion
  • Owed benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress


Q: Can You Sue for Age Discrimination in California?

A: Yes, you have a right to file a claim for age discrimination in California. Working with an employment attorney will help you determine if the facts of your case should be litigated in court or if your claim should be filed through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either option provides an opportunity to hold your employer accountable.

Q: How Do I Prove Age Discrimination in California?

A: While an employer will not directly state that your termination, lack of promotion, or change in job performance is due to age, that does not mean it is not. It is important to document any:

  • Comments about your age
  • Jokes
  • Witness statements
  • Text messages

This and other evidence can help show a pattern of behavior against your age.

Q: How Difficult Is It to Prove Age Discrimination?

A: Proving that you were discriminated against because of your age can be complicated and difficult. Often, evidence is neither written nor admitted to. Therefore, it requires documentation or witness statements that can help prove it was due to age. To prove the employer is at fault, there must be a pattern of behavior.

Q: Can I Be Fired for Reporting Age Discrimination?

A: No, you may not be fired for reporting any type of discrimination in the workplace. If you are terminated, or there is a change in job performance evaluations after reporting any discriminatory acts, you could be the victim of retaliation. You should collect evidence, including documents, written emails, witness statements, etc., and speak with an employment attorney to look for patterns of retaliation.

Los Angeles Age Discrimination Attorneys

If you feel you have been targeted by your employer because of your age, you should seek the help of a knowledgeable and expert attorney who will help you navigate employment law to hold your employer responsible for their actions. At the Shirazi Law Firm, P.C., our employment lawyers will review the details of your case. We can help you recover the damages you may be owed by holding your employer accountable for their actions. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against due to their age in Los Angeles or Southern California, please contact us for a free consultation.

“Emanuel Shirazi went above and beyond on my case. My employer treated me so unfairly and I felt like I had no where to turn. I met with Emanuel and he told me: I’ve got your back. This guy is a pit bull who never stops fighting for his clients. So glad he was on my side and not vice versa. Trust me, Emanuel won’t let you down.“


ML was an excellent and hard-working employee in her 60’s. Towards the end of her employment, management made a series of negative comments relating to her age and disability in an attempt to get her to quit her employment. These comments were of the nature that ML was too old (“can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, “too old to do x”) and that she had too many health issues to be working (“should think about retirement.”)

ML refused to quit. Her employer then fired ML, replacing her with someone in their 20’s—almost 40 years younger. The Company also fired other older employees around the same time. ML suffered severe emotional distress as a result of this discrimination, devastating career loss, and inability to find similar employment.

If you suspect that you have been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated because of a protected category such as age, disability, or medical condition, give us a call at 310-294-8773 for your free intake.

Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid after you do. Consultations/communications can be virtual if preferred.




Founder Emanuel Shirazi is an employment lawyer in Los Angeles representing employees who have been legally wronged by their employers. In addition to representing employees, Mr. Shirazi used to defend employers while he worked at the largest employment law firms in the country. Thus, Mr. Shirazi knows the tricks of the trade of the other side and will use that to your advantage in your case. Mr. Shirazi’s experience helps him anticipate your employer’s defense and prepare accordingly.