Laid Off by Your Employer | Mann & Elias
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Laid Off by Your Employer

When Layoffs Lead to Discrimination in The Workplace

If you’re an at-will employee, that means you are at risk of getting laid off from work without reason and at any time. Termination of employment might feel disheartening after you’ve spent months or years at a company you love. The age discrimination attorneys for the workplace at Mann & Elias would tell you this is worth looking into. There’s no harm in asking why the decision was made.

In 2020 and 2021 companies and organizations have had to make some difficult decisions. In most cases, senior employees over the age of 40 have been on the receiving end of these changes. Employers must be mindful of what this means to avoid a lawsuit. Read on to learn more about how layoffs can lead to age discrimination in the workplace.

Can Age Be a Factor in Layoffs?

Absolutely. So much so that The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was created to prohibit discrimination against employees who are 40 years old and older. Paired with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policies, employers are prohibited from making any employment decisions based on someone’s protected status. That includes:

The employment benefits you are entitled to are also protected under the Older Workers’ Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). Should you sign a clause or verbally agree to waive your right to sue, this policy works in your favor as well.

I Was Laid Off Because Of My Age, Can I Sue?

For a successful age discrimination case against your employer, you need direct or circumstantial evidence.

  • Direct evidence might be a witness testimonial who can verify what you’ve seen or heard around the office. In such cases, an employer might have made ageist comments around the office.
  • Circumstantial evidence is indirect. Should you have information that does not directly prove your point but support your case, we can still use it against the defendant.

Keep in mind that any cases will need to be reported to the EEOC before we’re able to file a lawsuit. Whatever is found during the internal investigation can also help prove your claims.

Disparate Impact in The Workplace 

Older workers are often targeted in subtle ways – from changes in company policy to exclusion for certain benefits. An effective strategy our labor attorney for employees would utilize is investigating for signs of disparate treatment. Disparate treatment is when the company’s actions have an adverse effect on a group of workers. For instance, if there is a business policy causing most of the senior staff to get an unfair pay cut, affected workers have every right to speak up.

Age Discrimination Is Difficult to Prove

Proving agism or ageist tactics can be extremely difficult when the EEOC isn’t involved. Employers hope that evidence falls short. Most don’t know that they can use what we refer to as the Reasonable Factor Other Than Age (RFOA) in their defense. It permits a manager to fire under reasonable standards. With any of these legalities, we recommend hiring an employment attorney. At Mann & Elias we will ensure that you get the legal help you need.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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