Is it legal to terminate me from my job because of my age? 4 Answers as of July 30, 2011

Having worked for the same large company for 36 yrs, my job is being eliminated 2 months before I turn 55 and I will be let go from my job due to an organizational transition. Won't be eligible for retirement and won't be allowed to enroll in 2012 and beyond health benefits typically offered to retirees. I can't eat, sleep, or think clearly. What are my options?

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Carnes Law Firm
Carnes Law Firm | William J. Carnes
You bring up issues that warrant consideration. You may be the victim of age discrimination, but the facts do not give enough information for a determination. There are various federal and state statutes and common law causes of action that you might wish to pursue in order to best serve your interests. These include, but are not limited to the following: breach of contract, oral and written, misrepresentation, negligent or otherwise, fraud, defamation, libel, battery, assault, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, workers' compensation retaliation, interference with an advantageous business relationship, negligent hiring, negligent retention, discrimination, claims or rights under state and federal whistle blower legislation including Sections 448.101-448.105, Fla. Stat., claims or rights under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), as amended, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act ("COBRA"), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (` ERISA") of 1974, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), the Equal Pay Act ("EPA"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 ("FCRA") Fla. Stat Chapter 760. There are one or more statutes of limitation for these causes of action. If you wish to pursue a claim, you must file the complaint prior to the end of the limitation period, or the claim will be barred. Many statutory violations have to be initiated through the proper administrative agency which is frequently the EEOC office and/or the Florida Commission on Human Relations. If you feel that your rights under these laws have been violated, I encourage you to seek redress with the proper agency as soon as possible. These have reduced periods of time during which an action can be commenced, or the cause action will be barred if not timely commenced. Please remember that many, but not all, federal discrimination claims must be filed appropriately within three hundred (300) days after the alleged act(s) of discriminatory conduct. Many, but not all, state claims of discrimination must be filed within three hundred sixty-five (365) days after the alleged act(s) of discrimination. The statute of limitations may be less or greater for other causes of action. While the EEOC/Commission on Human Relations administrative process can operate without the assistance of a private attorney, you may wish to retain private counsel to assist you in filing a claim. A privately retained attorney can assist in investigating the claim, recognizing the issues, identifying the defendants and drafting the charges. It is important to remember, however, that you must file the charges in a timely manner or the action will be barred. The date of these occurrences is very important and should be determined in order to avoid the statute of limitations. Unfortunately, this firm cannot render a competent legal opinion based on an unsolicited factual scenario. Your query requires more facts to allow for proper consideration by an attorney. A consultation with an attorney at this office frequently requires more than two hours of the attorney's time to complete. The attorney and the client meet to discuss the facts and review any documentation. We conduct a general discussion of the law, and the attorney advises the client of the options the client may wish to consider. After the consultation, the attorney reviews the notes, researches the law, if necessary, and drafts a summary follow-up letter to the prospective client. During our consultation, we may discuss, among other things, the general nature of employment law in Florida, statutory discrimination claims, unemployment compensation benefits and claims strategy, workers' compensation benefits and filing requirements, common law causes of action, severance benefits, contractual considerations, benefit continuation considerations and the administrative procedural requirements for filing a discrimination claim against an employer. Should you decide to pursue this matter, it is important to remember that you will have the burden of proving your case. You must provide the witnesses and other evidence, direct and circumstantial, necessary to prove the elements of the specific charge against your employer. I urge you to do what is necessary to make a sound decision on whether to pursue or to abandon your case. The above is not a legal opinion and cannot be relied upon as such. There is no attorney-client relationship created by responding to this inquiry. Should you wish to get a legal opinion upon which you can rely, the only way is to hire an experienced employment attorney in your local area who can get all of the facts, research the law and explain your options to you.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/30/2011
Law Office of Eli M. Kantor
Law Office of Eli M. Kantor | Eli Kantor
It is illegal to terminate you because of your age (55). However, in order to have a case you will have to prove that your age was the motivating factor of your termination, and that the employer did not have a legitimate business reason to terminate you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/29/2011
Law Offices of Sana Swe
Law Offices of Sana Swe | Sana Swe
It is illegal for an employer to consider a person's age (if they are 40 or older) when it makes an employment decision, including a layoff decision. Some of the questions that need to be answered include the following: 1. If other people also are being let go in the organizational transition, what are their ages - i.e., are they also older than 40? 2. What are the ages of the people making the decision? 3. Whether others are being let go or not, what are the ages of those who are remaining? 4. How did the employer decide your job should be eliminated and not someone else's did it rank employees, simply eliminate your job because it would be combined with someone else's, etc.? In this sort of situation, there unfortunately is not a simple answer to your question. You certainly should consult with an attorney in order to determine whether there is reason to believe your age was considered, especially if you are being offered severance in exchange for signing a release (which would include your agreement not to bring legal action).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
Yes, if your former employer is covered under the federal and state age discrimination laws. Contact the federal EEOC for a more specific response to your age inquiry.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/28/2011
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