Were You Passed Over as Too Old for the Job?

When an employee comes to our Tampa age discrimination attorneys concerned that a potential employer was influenced by their age in their hiring decision, we immediately begin to investigate. Under state and federal laws, employers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of age. They cannot give hiring preference to younger workers who are less qualified. They cannot deny benefits to older workers or let older workers go simply because of their advancing age.

Age discrimination in the workplace happens every day throughout Florida. The workplace discrimination lawyers at Feldman Williams, PLLC are determined not to let employers get away with it. We will vigorously pursue your remedies under the law, whether you are seeking compensation or reinstatement to your job.

Enforcing Your Employment Rights

If you believe you were passed over for employment or advancement because of your age, or otherwise discriminated against by an employer, contact us to explore your potential claims. We represent employees throughout the state of Florida.

Age Discrimination in Employment Is Illegal

Workers over the age of 40 are specifically protected from discrimination and adverse employment actions (termination) under two federal laws:

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 applies to both employees and job seekers. With limited exemptions, employers cannot use a person’s age as a criteria of employment or provide privilege or preference on the basis of age in hiring, compensation, benefits, job assignments, training, promotions, layoffs or termination. Employers cannot include or imply age restrictions in ads and job postings, and must have a lawful reason to inquire about age or date of birth on applications.
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) of 1990 prohibits employers from denying benefits to aging workers. However, employers can legally reduce certain benefits to older employees with proof of added costs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Disability Discrimination Claims

Employees who experience discrimination based on a disability may have questions about their ability to file claims against their employer. Below, we address some of those questions.

Public Employer or Municipality

QUESTION: 

Do I have a right to assert a disability related employment discrimination claim in a public employer / municipality under Title II of the ADA in Florida, Georgia and the 11thCircuit?

ANSWER: 

YES.  The 11th Circuit holds that the catchall phrase of Title II, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008, applies to employment discrimination by public employers.  Title II of the ADA protects individuals with disabilities, including employees, from discrimination by a state or local government. The 11thCircuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over cases that originate in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

See Bledsoe v. Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District, 133 F.3d 816 (11th Cir. 1998)

Statute of Limitations

QUESTION: 

What is the statute of limitations or time requirements to file a claim under the ADA Title II against public entities?

ANSWER: 

Individuals who believe a state or local government has discriminated against them have 4 years to file suit.  In Florida, pursuant to Florida Statute 95.11(3)(f), an action based upon statutory liability must be filed or commenced within 4 years.  Therefore, claims under Title II of the ADA against public employers may be filed within 4 years.

EEOC and Disability Discrimination Claims

QUESTION: 

Do I have to file a charge with the EEOC (Employment Equal Opportunities Commission) for disability discrimination under Title II of the ADA against a public entity?

ANSWER:

There is no requirement under Title II of the ADA that claims must exhaust administrative remedies. This means there is no requirement to file a charge with the EEOC or state agencies prior to commencing with a lawsuit.

Decisions in earlier cases regarding Statutes of Limitations provide helpful background in understanding the time requirement.

In 2015, the Ninth Circuit held that the statute of limitations period for Title II of the ADA in California is three years. (see Sharkey v. O’Neal, 778 F.3d 767 (9th Cir., 2015)). Specifically, the Court found that not all ADA claims have the same statute of limitations and that Title II does not have an express statute of limitations. As a result, it borrowed the statute of limitations period “applicable to the most analogous state-law claim,” which in California it found to be a law prohibiting discrimination (California Government Code § 11135), as opposed to the state’s personal injury statute of limitations, which other courts have applied.

In Bledsoe v. Palm Beach County Soil & Water Conservation District, 133 F.3d 816, 825, 11 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 953 (11th Cir. 1998), thedefendant sought to dismiss Plaintiff’s Title II ADA claim arguing that she failed to timely file her lawsuit pursuant to an exhausted right to sue letter.  However, the court concluded that she was not required to exhaust administrative remedies. It also ruled that the EEOC right to sue letter was inapplicable and did not bar her suit since she had 4 years to file suit, following Ethridge v. State of Alabama, 647 F. Supp. 903, 907 (MD Ala 1993). 

In the latter case, the court decision discusses the need to file with the EEOC and notes the difference between Title I and Title II ADA cases. Here is more detail about the Ethridge case:

“[T]he Ethridge court noted the difference in the application of the exhaustion requirement which is mandatory in Title I but not in Title II of the ADA. The court found that although Title I requires exhaustion, Title II does not because it ‘incorporates the enforcement procedures of the Rehabilitation Act, . . . which do not require exhaustion of administrative remedies for non-federal  [*22] employees.’[Ethridge v. State of Alabama,] 847 F.Supp. [903,] 907 [(M.D. Ala. 1993)].   

Another case illustrates that filing with the EEOC before making a Title II claim is not mandatory.

 “An analysis of Title II regulations further makes clear that, while resort to administrative remedies is optional, it is not required. See King v. Clarke County, No. CA 12-0312-CG-C, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153578, at *21-22 (S.D. Ala. Sep. 27, 2012)

Tampa Age Discrimination Lawyers Understand These Complex Cases

Proving age discrimination is complicated. Employers have substantial latitude in hiring and firing, and the decision about a particular worker or applicant may have nothing to do with the person’s age. Our attorneys are skilled at identifying patterns and actions that point to discriminatory treatment of older workers, or pointing out discrepancies such as superior qualifications of the rejected applicant or hiring of a younger candidate who lacks the requisite credentials or experience.

We represent clients in claims through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Florida Human Rights Commission and in ensuing lawsuits in state or federal courts when we cannot reach a satisfactory resolution at the administrative level. Reparations for age discrimination could include back pay and/or front pay, reinstatement and/or advancement, or compensatory damages for lost earnings and the emotional distress from a failure to hire on the basis of age.

Find Out If You Have a Case

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced employment litigation attorney at Feldman Williams, PLLC, please contact one of our offices in Tampa, Jacksonville or Atlanta, Georgia. We are prepared to review your case and offer free assessments.