Things you didn't think you had to say but apparently do: age discrimination is still illegal. Doh! Apparently some employers are freaking out right now due to the coronavirus pandemic and firing or laying off older employees to "protect" them.
No. No. No.
You cannot, I repeat, cannot take any action against someone due to their age. I don't care if you think it's for their own good. Unless the government orders otherwise, forcing someone to go on leave, firing them, demoting them, laying them off, if done because of their age, is illegal.
I am seeing this already, and while I'd like to make a boatload of money because employers are being idiots, I'd much rather see my clients keep their jobs and keep their insurance during this difficult time.
So cut it out.
Now, let's talk about the flip side. I'm also seeing older employees wanting to take leave or work remotely due to COVID-19. Laws that still apply are FMLA and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
So if your doctor gives you a note saying a reasonable accommodation for a disability is remote work or a leave of absence, the employer should grant it. And if your doctor will fill out FMLA paperwork for you saying you need a leave of absence, and your company has at least 50 employees within 50 miles, and you've worked at least a year; or if your doctor thinks you fit in the temporarily expanded FMLA, and your company has fewer than 500 employees, and you've worked at least 30 days, you should be entitled to take that leave.
But just age alone doesn't entitle you to any accommodation, so without any doctor's note, the only other thing that will help you is if the employer is making you work in dangerous conditions without protective gear, report them to OSHA.
There may be more laws and ordinances that come out as this thing progresses, but that's where we are now.
What You Need To Know Before You Scream “I Quit,” Get Fired, Or Decide to Sue the Bastards
Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Yes, Age Discrimination Is Still Illegal In A Pandemic
Posted by Donna Ballman at 7:30 AM
Labels: age discrimination, coronavirus
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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.