The Employee Over 40, Not Over the Hill

You spend your life developing a skill set and gaining experience in the workplace, making valuable contributions as an employee.  Today, more and more people are staying in the workforce for a longer period of time, some to build up their retirement account and others because of the uncertain economic forecast.  Although the seniority gained in your career has its advantages, an employer’s perception of its older employees can create obstacles.  You may encounter an employer who looks at your age unfavorably.  Perhaps your employer wants “new blood” on the team, or thinks that sales is a “young man’s game.”  In contrast, you may be wrongly and unfairly viewed as “slow,” “old-school,” “over-the-hill,” or “out-of-date.”

 

In Kentucky, age discrimination in the workplace is not tolerated under either state or federal law.  The Kentucky Civil Rights Act expressly prohibits an employer with eight or more employees from discriminating against an otherwise qualified individual, who is over the age of 40, on the basis of age.  A few common issues that are associated with age discrimination in the workplace are addressed below.

 

What does age discrimination look like?

Kentucky law prohibits an employer from failing or refusing to hire an individual because of that person’s age.  Age discrimination can change depending on your field of employment.  If you perform field labor, you might notice an influx of young bodies at the expense of older employees.  In the office, interns and entry-level employees may be viewed as high energy go-getters, while older employees are shuffled quietly out the door by management.

 

How do I prove I am the victim of age discrimination?

Like race and gender, age qualifies as a protected status in Kentucky.  Although most employees work in an “at-will” capacity, meaning without an employment contract, an employer is forbidden from firing or refusing to hire a person on the basis of a protected status.  An employer is also forbidden from imposing any limitations or conditions of employment because of an individual’s age.

 

To pursue a successful discrimination claim, you must prove that your employer fired you because of your age.  Because employers know age discrimination is illegal, they will offer a multitude of reasons other than age to explain your termination or lack of qualification.  However, the attorneys at Abney & McCarty will thoroughly investigate your claim and seek to uncover any wrongful conduct on the part of your employer

 

How do I proceed with my age discrimination claim?

The attorneys at Abney & McCarty can negotiate with your employer or former employer, and, when necessary, will go the next step to file a lawsuit on your behalf if you have suffered age discrimination.  Lost wages, embarrassment and humiliation damages, costs, and attorney’s fees are available under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.  Call the attorneys at Abney & McCarty to find out what your options are.