What can I do if I feel I am being discriminated against due to my age?

Full Question:

I am 58 years old and have taught 32 years (long enough to receive a longevity bonus). I was threatened by my boss last June, when I returned from cataract surgery and an automobile accident, that I would be and have been bullied daily and threatened at work (affecting my health) and finally bullied/forced in to early retirement after a long and successful teaching career. As I have unexpectedly been strongly advised by my doctors and re-threatened by my school district and advised by the teachers union(due to my health, from the stress incurred at work, I am on medical leave suffering post traumatic stress panic attacks after testifying for my school district in Federal court (after a stellar teaching career... curriculum specialist, Outreach Consultant, Title I Resource Teacher ( No Child Left Behind), BCC Credentialed Bilingual and English as a Second Language Teacher and Trainer, Reading Specialist and Literacy Coordinator) into this position, I have found out some things that I would consider age/racial discrimination against me by my employer and by the, the Santa Ana Educator's Association California State Teacher's Retirement system. By retiring at age 58 instead of 60 or 65, I am receiving 70% of my salary, instead of the usual 85-90% (@ $20,000/ year difference - If I had raised my children; then taught the same number of years, I would be 60-65 and receive @ $20,000 a year more. In addition, due to retiring 'early', I do not qualify for medicare or social security, so I must pay $400/month for insurance). As California is trying yet again to cut educational spending, this seems like 'age' discrimination. The threatening letter of reprimand, I received from my school district, siting 'lies' about racial prejudice ( I am hispanic) also reeks of discrimination. I was advised to simply retire by my doctors (I have developed an arythmia due to the bullying and stress at work) and the union, since the district involved children while I have been out on medical leave... It seems that my retirement pay should be based on my longevity (which I already have) not my age and that I have been discriminated against and threatened due to my health, age and race. Do you think this is an issue worth pursuing for loss of health and wages, anxiety, etc. I am still on medical leave and will be retiring on January 31st. I am in danger of losing my home due to the unexpected $20,000 less per year and the additional $400 per month in insurance.
01/21/2009   |   Category: Employment ยป Discrimination   |   State: California   |   #15037


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in broad areas of the employment relationship. It applies to most employers engaged in interstate commerce with more than 15 employees, labor organizations, and employment agencies. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq., prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It also is unlawful under the Act for an employer to take retaliatory action against any individual for opposing employment practices made unlawful by Title VII or for filing a discrimination charge or for testifying or assisting or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII. Sex includes pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. It makes it illegal for employers to discriminate in hiring, discharging, compensation, or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. Employment agencies may not discriminate when hiring or referring applicants. Labor organizations are also prohibited from basing membership or union classifications on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of age. The prohibited practices are nearly identical to those outlined in Title VII. An employee is protected from discrimination based on age if he or she is over 40. The ADEA contains explicit guidelines for benefit, pension and retirement plans.

Anyone who feels that he or she has suffered workplace discrimination because of his or her race, age, physical disability, religion, sex, or national origin is eligible to file a complaint with the EEOC. Complaints or charges are generally filed at an EEOC office by the aggrieved party or by his or her designated agent. All charges must be filed in writing, preferably but not necessarily on the appropriate EEOC form, within 180 days of the occurrence of the act that is the reason the complaint is being filed. Complaints may be filed at any one of 50 district, area, local, and field EEOC offices throughout the United States.

After a complaint is filed, the EEOC then undertakes an investigation of the charge. If the investigation shows reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, the Commission launches conciliation efforts. The reaching of an agreement between the two parties signals closure of the case. If such an agreement cannot be reached, the EEOC has the option of filing suit in court or the aggrieved party may file suit on his or her own. If no violation of Title VII is found, the EEOC removes itself from the case, though the party charging discrimination is still free to file suit in court within a specified time.

Ask Legal Question

Your Privacy is 100% Confidential!