What-Does-Age-Discrimination-Look-Like-1024x552.jpg (1024×552)As a study reported on by the San Francisco Chronicle reported, people over 40 can find rampant age discrimination in the workplace. The study found that they are not hired as often, but that is not where the discrimination ends. Companies will sometimes try to maneuver older employees out of the workforce or favor younger workers for promotion and compensation. Finding out if a company is indulging in this before an employee suffers from it is important. While it is always hard to prove discrimination of any type, there will be a few signals that an employee will see when they are victims of it.

The Rules

Age discrimination is illegal both at the federal and the state level. The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 was passed at the federal level for the Department of Labor to stop employers from discriminating against people over 40 when they hire, fire, or compensate employees. They are not supposed to discriminate against people over 40 with the terms and conditions that they offer, or when they choose who to promote either. This law applies to all companies that employ more than 20 people. The State of California has its own anti-age discrimination law, and it applies to any company that has more than 5 people.

Verbal Cues

You might have grown up with the phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ Well, in the case of employers practicing age discrimination, words can definitely hurt. Comments from the boss are one sign of impending age discrimination. Is the boss asking when you will retire? Are people ‘playfully’ calling you ‘Gramps?’ Sometimes the boss will start aggressively teasing you about your age in the hope that you will quit without getting your retirement benefits. This isn’t people being mean. This is your boss declaring that he or she prefers younger workers.

The Pattern

Non-verbal cues can be equally telling. Does the boss hang out with the younger workers? Does everybody they hire look to be about 30? Do older workers who apply for higher positions always seem to be passed over in favor of those new 30-something employees, even if they are less experienced?

Probably the biggest signs that you are personally being singled out for age discrimination are that you get reassigned to unpleasant jobs and your performance reviews suddenly take a downward turn. Companies looking to get rid of more expensive older workers will give crummy reviews to justify not giving promotions and raises that people should have. (Speaking of raises, some companies have a cap on how much they will pay someone for a given job, and you may have already reached that cap so that they don’t need an excuse to not give you a raise. On the other hand, if you aren’t at that level and suddenly aren’t getting raises that you are owed, that’s a sign of age discrimination, too.) The job transfers are classic harassment: they make the target’s work life miserable so that they leave.

Your First Steps

If you suspect that you are a victim of age discrimination, there are things that you can do. First, when your boss starts asks about when you are retiring or you see other signs, write it down. Email your boss to clarify that you are not planning on retiring soon at all and document other incidents. Find out what your company’s harassment policy is and follow their procedures for reporting it. If you have been fired, demoted, or suspended because of age discrimination, you have 180 days to file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They have an online form now that really automates the process, but you can also bring charges by going to a local EEOC office or mailing in a charge. You can also start the process by calling them at 1-800-669-4000. Just have handy your contact information, your employers contact information, a short description of the discriminatory action, an explanation of why you think it is discriminatory, and be prepared to add your signature to any mail you send.

It might also help to contact a lawyer that specializes in employment law. They can have sage advice about your case and how to make sure you get some compensation.

If you think that you have been denied a promotion, are being harassed or are otherwise a victim of age discrimination at work, feel free to contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy for more information. We are a law office that specializes in consumer fraud, class actions, and, of course, employment law. And we’re medium-sized so we can focus our expertise on clients that we take on. We do our best to get our clients justice.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986