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San Diego Age Discrimination Attorney

Age discrimination in employment is an unfortunate reality for many workers in California and across the country. Mature, experienced employees often find themselves facing negative stereotypes, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace due to their age. Discrimination is a serious issue. If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination in your San Diego workplace, it is essential to understand your legal protections and options for taking action.

The experienced age discrimination attorneys at Hamparyan Law Firm are here to help. We are well-versed in California and US laws, and we find ways to get maximum compensation for our clients. Your consultation is free. Call us at (619) 550-1355 today.

What is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination, also called ageism, occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee unfavorably or takes negative action against them specifically because of their age. This type of discrimination most commonly targets mature workers over the age of 40

Under California and federal law, it is illegal for employers to make employment decisions based even partly on a person’s age if they are 40 years old or older. Such employment decisions may include hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, assignment, and more.

Discrimination can be obvious, such as terminating an employee shortly after their 65th birthday. However, it often manifests in subtle ways through comments, workplace culture, and patterns of adverse actions.

Examples of Age Discrimination

Some examples of unlawful age discrimination in California workplaces include:

  • Not hiring a qualified, experienced job candidate based on assumptions about their age
  • Failing to promote a deserving employee or consider them for training opportunities due to their age
  • Excessive criticism or discipline of older workers compared to younger employees
  • Derogatory or harassing comments about a worker’s age
  • Forced retirement or layoffs targeting older employees
  • Unequal compensation or benefits for employees doing similar work.

These types of discriminatory actions violate state and federal laws that protect employees and job applicants age 40 and up from being treated unfavorably due to how old they are.

Age Discrimination Laws in California

If you work in California and have faced discrimination because of your age, you are protected by federal and state laws. Key laws prohibiting age discrimination in the workplace include:

Age Discrimination in Employment Act

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal for employers with 20 or more employees to discriminate against employees and job applicants who are 40 years old or older. The ADEA applies to decisions regarding hiring, firing, layoffs, compensation, job assignments, promotions, or any other term or condition of employment.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also prohibits employment discrimination based on age for workers over the age of 40. The law applies to employers with five or more employees. It allows job applicants and employees to file age discrimination claims through the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Compared to federal law, California offers broader protections and more robust remedies for victims of age discrimination. Employees in California can recover unlimited compensatory and punitive damages in an age discrimination lawsuit, for example.

Proving Age Discrimination and Building an Age Discrimination Case in California

While age discrimination is illegal, it can be challenging to prove in California. Employers rarely admit they have engaged in age bias. However, there are steps you can take to document ageist remarks, policies, or patterns of discrimination against workers over 40:

  • Save emails, texts, memos, and other communication that demonstrate age bias. For example, keep copies of performance reviews where older workers were held to stricter standards.
  • Take detailed notes about discriminatory comments made by decision-makers, harassment from coworkers, and other incidents. Write down who made the remarks, what was said, dates, times, and other relevant details.
  • Photograph ageist posters, cartoons, graffiti, or images displayed in your workplace.
  • Keep a log of adverse actions like denied promotions, poor performance reviews, or decreased hours, and compare with those of younger coworkers.

With evidence and documentation, an experienced age discrimination lawyer can often detect patterns of age bias over time. This can significantly strengthen an age discrimination claim under FEHA.

Finding an Age Discrimination Attorney in San Diego

If you believe you have suffered age discrimination, finding an experienced employment law attorney is important. Remember these key lawyer qualities when looking for the best age discrimination lawyer in San Diego:

  • Well-versed in California and federal age discrimination laws, employment laws, and litigation
  • Understands the types of circumstantial evidence needed to prove age discrimination
  • Will thoroughly investigate your employment history to build a robust claim
  • Has a successful track record specifically representing California victims
  • Offers a free consultation to review your situation
  • Represents employees on a contingency fee basis.

The age discrimination attorneys at Hamparyan Law Firm in San Diego meet all these criteria. We have decades of experience representing Californians seeking fairness and compensation. Backed by our honed skill and experience, we fearlessly handle discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims against employers.

The Hamparyan firm provides a free consultation and represents plaintiffs on a contingency fee basis – we charge no attorney fees until you recover compensation.

Compensation in an Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Remedies available in a successful age discrimination claim may include:

Lost wages and benefits

This is back pay to cover lost wages, commissions, bonuses, pension, and other benefits you would have earned if not for the unlawful discrimination.


You may be able to get your job back along with restoration of seniority, benefits, and opportunities for advancement that were illegally denied.

Front pay 

If reinstatement is not feasible, you may recover future earnings and benefits you are expected to lose due to the discrimination.

Emotional distress damages 

This is compensation for mental anguish, stress, humiliation, and other hardships caused by the discrimination.

Punitive damages

In a few cases, punitive damages are money awarded to the victim to punish the employer for malicious or reckless discrimination. It helps deter similar misconduct in the future.

Attorneys fees and costs

Age discrimination laws allow successful plaintiffs to recover their attorneys fees and costs expended in pursuing their claim.

By collecting solid evidence and retaining an experienced age discrimination lawyer in San Diego, you can hold employers accountable for violations regarding age bias. Successful cases can result in considerable compensation under FEHA or federal statutes.

How The Age Discrimination Claim Process Works in San Diego

If you believe you have faced discrimination at work in San Diego based on your age, there is a process to file a formal complaint and hold employers accountable. Key steps include:

File An Administrative Complaint

The first step is to file an administrative complaint with either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This starts an official investigation into the alleged discriminatory practices. The deadline to file with the EEOC is within 300 days of the unlawful acts. Meanwhile, if you file with the California DFEH, the time limit is three years.


After filing, the administrative agency will serve notice on your employer and begin an impartial investigation. This involves interviewing witnesses, collecting documentation and evidence, and reviewing company policies and personnel files.


Many claims settle through voluntary mediation between the parties. An objective mediator helps find common ground and negotiate a settlement to avoid litigation. The majority of administrative complaints reach resolution at this stage.

Notice of Right to Sue

If mediation fails, the investigating agency will issue a “right to sue” notice. This allows you to file a lawsuit against the employer within one year to pursue your age discrimination claims in California civil court.


With an employment law attorney’s help, you can file a lawsuit seeking damages for lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, reinstatement, and other remedies provided by law. Your lawyer can also push for a favorable settlement from this point forward.

The process for pursuing an age claim allows thorough investigation and multiple opportunities for a fair settlement before reaching trial litigation. An experienced law firm like Hamparyan Law Firm can guide you through each step.

San Diego Age Discrimination Case FAQs

What is the time limit for filing an age discrimination claim in California?

Under FEHA, you must file an administrative complaint with the DFEH within three years of the alleged discriminatory act. To preserve your rights, contact an attorney right away when you face discrimination at over 40 years old. You may be required to file earlier to meet federal deadlines as well.

How do I calculate lost wages from age discrimination?

Your attorney can determine back pay and the value of lost benefits you would have earned if not for the unfair treatment you experienced due to your age. We at Hamparyan do more than just adding up your lost wages – we evaluate the broader impact you suffered after getting denied pay or benefits.

What if I signed an arbitration agreement with my employer? Is it still illegal for them to discriminate based on age?

Signing an employment contract with a mandatory arbitration clause does not necessarily prevent you from pursuing age discrimination claims. An attorney can advise you on your rights and whether the arbitration agreement is even enforceable.

What are some examples of age discrimination remarks I should document?

Ageist comments that stereotype, demean, or harass employees over 40 provide strong evidence of discrimination. Document remarks like:

  • “You’re over the hill.”
  • “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
  • Suggestions older workers should retire
  • Jokes that mature employees are “incompetent,” “slow,” “outdated,” “unable to handle pressure,” or “set in their ways.”

Can I sue for age discrimination if I was an independent contractor?

Yes, you may still have valid claims under FEHA or federal law if you can show you were misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. An attorney can help you prove employee status to pursue age discrimination claims. Consult a lawyer from Hamparyan regarding your rights.

What are the first steps in an age bias complaint under federal and California laws?

You would first file an administrative claim with either California’s DFEH or the federal EEOC. This starts an investigation into the alleged unlawful practices. Your lawyer can then help negotiate a settlement or pursue formal litigation if needed to get you relief under state or federal age discrimination laws.

The experienced age discrimination attorneys at Hamparyan Law Firm are here to support employees facing unlawful bias based on age in San Diego workplaces. Note that both US and California law have deadlines for filing, so it’s best to consult with our attorney as soon as you can.

Need a San Diego Age Discrimination Lawyer? Hamparyan Law Firm Can Help.

Founded by award-winning trial attorney Robert Hamparyan, Hamparyan Law Firm provides aggressive legal representation to victims of negligence and abuse across Southern California. Attorney Hamparyan and his legal team offer exceptional service fighting for employees facing discrimination. Our firm’s accolades include:

  • Attorney Hamparyan named San Diego’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year”
  • Over $100 million recovered for clients
  • 40+ individual settlements over $1 million.

If you suffered any form of discrimination based on your age, the seasoned attorneys at Hamparyan Law Firm can fully examine your situation through a free case review. We work on a contingency fee basis, charging you no upfront costs. Call (619) 550-1355 today for a free consultation if you suffered discrimination over 40. Our legal team can assess your situation and help protect your rights under FEHA and federal law.


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