What are my rights regarding wrongful termination due to age discrimination?

On March 16th 2015 on my 60 birthday I was

fired from my job. I would have been fully

vested in my company pension plan. I worked

as a truck driver. I had worked with this

company for less than a year. I had knocked

down some cable TV wires with a trailer a few

days before this happened. Another driver had

a roll over wreck a few weeks before and

didn’t get fired. Do I have a discrimination

case against them?

Asked on March 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You *may* have an age discrimination case--in large part, it will depend on:
1) The difference between the accidents; for example, if you were at fault in your accident (e.g. weren't looking; didn't properly judge distances or height; you were texting at the time or had been drinking; etc.) and the other driver was not at fault in his (e.g. a tire blew out; he had to swerve to avoid another vehicle suddenly coming into his lane; etc.), then there was nothing wrong about terminating the at fault driver and not the one who was not at fault.
2) The difference in how you and the other driver reacted after the accidents: if he cooperated with the company and police, for example, but you tried to cover up or hide what you did, that would justify your termination.
3) How long you had each been there: you were a short timer (less than a year) with this company; if he had been there for several years, a company could justify giving the veteran employee a break, but not the new guy.
4) Is the other driver under age 40? The law protects people over 40...if you are both 40 or more, there would be no discrimination.
Basically, you have to eliminate non-age reasons as grounds for the difference in treatment or your termination. If there are no valid non-age reasons, then this may be age-related discrimination. If you feel that is the case, contact the federal EEOC or your state equal/civil rights agency about filing a complaint.


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