Like most other states, Ohio follows the at-will employment doctrine. Under this law, employers can fire employees for almost any reason, or even no reason at all. However, employers are never allowed to fire employees based on discriminatory reasons, and that includes age discrimination. Age discrimination is not always easy to spot, but it is even more difficult for wronged employees to know what to do about it when they suspect they were fired due to their age. If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination, our Columbus employment lawyers can help.
The Law on Age Discrimination
Both federal and state law prohibit age discrimination in the workplace. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is the federal legislation that makes it illegal to hire, fire, promote, compensate, or assign projects to employees based on their age. The federal law only applies to employers that employ 20 or more workers. There is an exception to the law and that is when being a certain age is a requirement of the occupation. For example, a person may need to be a certain age to play a certain role in a theater production. Employers of clerical workers likely cannot impose this same requirement on workers.
The Ohio Revised Code, Section 4112.14 is just one portion of state law that largely mirrors the federal Act. Under this law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers aged 40 or older based on their age.
What to Do if You Suspect Age Discrimination
It is not uncommon for employees to not know what steps to take when they suspect they were a victim of age discrimination. The first step is to collect any documentation that outlines the general practices of the business. An employer’s own policies may show that they engage in age discrimination.
You should also document the way in which younger employees are treated compared with their older counterparts. If layoffs occur and they only affect older workers, that is an indication of age discrimination. Or, if bonuses and benefits are only given to younger workers, that is also age discrimination.
Strong evidence is also necessary when proving an age discrimination case. Emails, texts, and other written communication from a supervisor or employer is very helpful when proving discrimination has taken place. Statements from your employer, such as if they said you were too old for a certain job, is also useful evidence, particularly if there were witnesses.
It is important to collect as much evidence as possible, and to write a complete narrative of the employment situation. Be as specific as possible, outlining all of the factors that have led you to believe you were a victim of discrimination. Also include any physical evidence you have, such as emails from your boss that indicate discrimination. A Columbus employment lawyer can advise on which evidence is most important and help you collect it.
Our Employment Lawyers in Columbus Can Advise on Your Case
If you believe you have been discriminated against due to your age in the workplace, our Columbus employment lawyers at Marshall Forman & Schlein, LLC, can help you prove it. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.