Age Discrimination: When to Complain?
New York State and City laws, as well as Federal ADEA (“Age Discrimination Employment Act”) protect workers from age discrimination: it is illegal to subject employees to harassment, disparate treatment and retaliation.
Different laws provide different frames of protections, with the New York City laws being the broadest. Also, the size of the employer will determine if the complainant can file in Federal or State court: if the employer has 20 and more employees it is “covered” by the ADEA Federal law; if at least 4 employees, it is subject to liability under NY State and/or City laws.
To have a successful “case” a person must demonstrate that (1) he/she belongs to a protected class (the ADEA protects employees over 40; while the State laws affords protection to everyone over 18); (2) he/she suffered an adverse employment action (harassment; demotion; suspension; denial of training; termination; etc.); (3) there exist a connection between the person’s age and adverse employment action; (4) the employer was motivated by an illegal reason to act/not to act towards the employee.
Although a person may go directly to State court, he/she might want to file a complaint with EEOC (“Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”) or NYSDHR (“New York State Division of Human Rights”) first. This will give employee and employer time to try to resolve the conflict and also, ensure that an employee will be able to file his/her complaint with Federal Court.
It is important to know that there are deadlines for filing an action against your employer. Only in rare instances, a 6 or 7 year old abuse can still be “actionable” and punishable in court. For the most part, the law provides a three years Statute of Limitations for the State court action; and 300 days for the action which will be filed with the Federal court. However, in reality, in the last example the case must be filed within 240 days from the date of the violation. The filing deadlines are very technical and must be observed at all costs.
New York Employment Discrimination attorney Alena Shautsova is a principal at the Law Office of Alena Shautsova, a full service Employment Discrimination Law Firm in Brooklyn, New York. The author can be reached through www.shautsova.com or 917-885-2261 and encourages her readers to contact her with questions.