A Growing Issue: Age Discrimination in New York

Recently, the highest federal appeals court in New York reviewed the age discrimination claim of a human resources worker of the Archdiocese of New York. The worker, Michael Franchino, who was 67 years old at the time of his firing, previously claimed at the trial level that he was a victim of age discrimination in the human resources department of the Archdiocese of New York after he endured years of age-related jokes made by his peers while management stood idly by and allowed the discrimination to continue. Franchino also made the claim that his firing was motivated by his race and gender. The appeals court revived Franchino’s age discrimination claims after they were dismissed by the trial court, stating that an inference of discrimination and bias could be found as a result of the age-related jokes made by peers, and that the inference was sufficient to survive dismissal.

The evidence of discrimination used by Franchino and his attorneys came in the form of age-related teasing and stereotypes, and many cases of age discrimination are similar in this respect. However, many other cases of age discrimination are far more subtle, and involve the promotion of a younger, less-qualified candidate over an older one. It is important to keep an eye out for the signs of age discrimination, especially when age discrimination is on the rise.

Celebrating Youth or Outright Discrimination?

Tech companies in Silicon Valley are facing an increase in age discrimination claims, due to what USA Today calls a “confluence of factors,” as greater numbers of age-protected workers are losing their jobs. These factors include an aging workforce, the rise of mergers that force companies to cut down their payroll, and a rapidly advancing skillset needed to compete in the tech industry.

Yet even when considering these hurdles, hiring younger people to fill the positions once occupied by veteran employees goes beyond the Silicon Valley goal of “celebrating youth” and often drifts into outright discriminatory hiring practices. As a result, companies such as Facebook, Intel, and Apple have all been sued for age discrimination by terminated employees in recent months.

Age Discrimination is Difficult to Spot

Had the court not revisited his claim, Michael Franchino would be just another aged member of the workforce who had been let go without so much as a sufficient explanation or justification. Fortunately, Mr. Franchino and his lawyers knew how to spot the signs of age discrimination, but this is not always easy. Age discrimination, more than other forms of discrimination, received great attention in the 1980s and 1990s when companies around the globe downsized older workers in large numbers. As  such, companies have experience not only in creating the circumstances that give rise to age discrimination, but in hiding it.

The case of Michael Franchino is symptomatic of a growing issue in New York and around the United States that age discrimination claims are often not discovered or, if discovered, are often dismissed before trial, depriving the plaintiff of their day in court.

How to Find Help

Cases of age discrimination too often strip people of their livelihoods and make people feel like an item rather than a person. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis is here to help humanize your situation by making a careful and skilled evaluation to all of your age discrimination concerns. The first step is to ask an attorney knowledgeable in this area of the law to assist you in evaluating your claims. Lawyers often provide this service for free, as does our firm, for the sake of educating the public and determining which clients the firm should retain. Contact a lawyer to discuss, and our law firm is one of many happy to assist. Call us today for a consultation at (646) 430-7930.