Workers of all ages add value to Michigan companies. If you suffer from discrimination based on your age, you may have a basis to sue in federal or state court. There are some important differences between federal and state laws with regard to age discrimination. It is critical to consult an experienced employment attorney about your situation. At Neumann Law Group, our Grand Rapids and Traverse City age discrimination lawyers may be able to represent you in a claim or lawsuit.Seeking Remedies for Age Discrimination
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) covers employers that have a minimum of 20 employees. It prohibits age discrimination against employees who are at least 40 years old. Michigan's anti-discrimination law, the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), is more expansive, prohibiting age discrimination for workers of all ages in any size of company. Under ELCRA, employees who suffer from discrimination because they are young also have protection.
ELCRA prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against employees based on their age. For example, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire anyone, terminate anyone, or decide a worker's compensation or work privileges due to their age. Employers may not classify workers in such a way that their opportunities would be limited or adversely affected due to their age. They also may not condone harassment of workers due to their age or retaliate against a worker who has opposed age discrimination under ELCRA. However, in Michigan, employers may apply different standards of compensation or privileges or conditions of employment based on a bona fide seniority or merit system.
If you are filing a lawsuit under ADEA, you must exhaust your administrative remedies by filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of the discriminatory act. The EEOC will review the matter, and it may issue a notice of right to sue, which in turn gives you 90 days to file a lawsuit. Our age discrimination attorneys can help Traverse City and Grand Rapids residents pursue their claims efficiently so that they comply with the relevant filing deadlines.
Under ELCRA, moreover, you may sue without exhausting your administrative remedies, as long as you work in the private sector. You have three years to file a lawsuit under ELCRA. In some cases, employers require their employees to sign a contract agreeing to go to arbitration in case of a dispute. Courts in general have found these agreements enforceable.
Generally, you may prove your discrimination case by providing direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, or proof of disparate impact. If you provide direct evidence that discrimination motivated the action taken by your employer, the burden of proof will shift to the employer to prove that discrimination did not occur. For example, if your supervisor tells you that you were terminated because of your age, this is direct evidence.
More commonly, you will need to prove discrimination through circumstantial evidence. For example, you might need to show that you were qualified for the position, that you suffered an adverse action, and that the position was given to someone else under circumstances that give rise to an inference that discrimination was involved.
A disparate impact exists if a seemingly neutral practice, such as a testing requirement, has a statistically significant disparate impact on a group of employees who share a protected characteristic, such as age. Courts differ as to whether disparate impact may apply to age discrimination. It is important to consult an attorney about whether you may have a claim.Contact an Age Discrimination Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
All employees in Michigan should be evaluated on the merits of whether they can do their job or not. If you are concerned about mistreatment in your workplace, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids age discrimination attorneys may be able to assist you. Our firm also represents people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment with an age or race discrimination lawyer.