Can Workers File Class Action Age Discrimination Lawsuits?

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You probably already know it is unlawful to discriminate against workers based on age. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with the responsibility for handling such claims. Did you know that groups of employees can, in limited situations, join together to file a class action lawsuit for age discrimination? Here are some things to consider if your employer is discriminating against large groups based on age.

How to File an Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Under federal law, workers 40 and older are covered. It is unlawful for a covered employer to discriminate against individuals based on their age. There is nothing in the law that prevents an employer from preferring or discriminating in favor of an older or more experienced worker.

In general, you have 45 days to contact the EEOC about age discrimination and 180 days to bring a claim against an employer. This is a very short amount of time, so it is important to get legal advice right away.

Why Employees May Want to File a Class Action Lawsuit

Class Action lawsuits serve a unique purpose of allowing a large number of affected individuals to bring an action against a large company. Many times, individual plaintiffs may have small actions worth a few thousand dollars. The cost of litigating these claims could be prohibitive. But by joining multiple plaintiffs, it can become more cost-effective, thus allowing victims to get compensation.

Potential Negatives to Filing a Class Action Lawsuit

The problem with class action lawsuits is that after accounting for attorney fees and the costs of litigation, most plaintiffs end up recovering just a small portion of the compensation they are due. Therefore, the company ends up paying a large amount of money, but it must be spread out so thinly that no individual plaintiff truly recovers a large amount.

Examples of Company-wide Discrimination

In recent years, we have seen tech companies and large national corporations moving to push aside older workers in favor of younger workers. Recently, IBM was sued for pushing out Baby Boomers in favor of Millennials. In one Pennsylvania case, a number of employees over 40 alleged systematic discrimination and termination based on age. Rather than a single, isolated case of discrimination, both of these cases raise concerns about company-wide plots to “push out” or “replace” older workers with younger ones.

How to Fight Age Discrimination

If you are the unfortunate victim of age discrimination in Alabama and you suspect that other employees are facing the same problems, it may be in your best interests to gather and bring a combined claim. There are times when this will not only strengthen your claims but also make it more cost-effective. Also, with more voices speaking up, it can lend additional credibility to the claims.

You should start by keeping track of events and documenting everything. While you should generally avoid discussing the facts of your own case with anyone but your own attorney, if you are comfortable talking to other employees, you may wish to inquire whether they would be willing to meet with the same attorney. For more information or for guidance on how to get others to come forward with you, call or visit Five Points Law Group online.

Can I Just Put Everything in Joint Accounts?

This common question comes up in estate planning meetings quite frequently. Many older adults may be concerned about probate. For them, protecting their children and their legacy is very important. These individuals often feel that it would just be simpler if there were some quick fix that avoids probate. Sadly, the Internet is full of bad advice, and many older adults have been convinced that avoiding probate is the only good reason for having an estate plan. Therefore, a curious myth has evolved, which says putting assets in joint bank accounts will take care of everything. Unfortunately, it is just not that easy.

At Five Points Law Group, we are committed to helping families put together comprehensive yet affordable estate plans that truly help to protect their assets and legacies for generations to come.

What is a Probate Asset?

For those who are concerned about probate, it may come as some comfort to know that not everything you own is subject to probate. In fact, probate is somewhat of a catch-all. For instance, none of the following assets will pass through a probate estate or require a court’s involvement:

  • Anything properly held in trust
  • Life insurance that has a living named beneficiary
  • Bank accounts made payable on death
  • Bank accounts held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship
  • Corporate assets that are resolved through contract or operating agreements

Common Scenarios 

One common situation is when a person puts a large sum of money in a bank account, names a loved one as a joint account holder, then privately instructs that person on how to distribute the money after death. This sort of “informal will” may work in theory, but in practice it often goes poorly.

Why Not Put Assets in Joint Accounts?

Alabama law generally considers it a gift to name someone on your bank account. This means the person you name as your joint account holder could technically withdraw all of the money, to the deprivation of other heirs, even while you are still alive. Although a court can hear evidence and determine that this was improper, this would do nothing to protect you if this person steals your life savings. Situations like this have been the subject of a lot of litigation over the years.

You trust your joint account holder, right? Well, assuming the person never does anything untoward, there are still problems with using a joint account. For instance, if you are concerned about nursing home placement and want to preserve your assets in the event you need Medicaid for long-term care someday, all these funds will be counted against you.

Final Thoughts on Joint Accounts

Even if everyone behaves properly and distributes money as intended, there are substantial limitations on what a joint bank account can do. For instance, a properly executed will can name a representative, waive bond requirements, and even deal with tangible items, such as family heirlooms, furniture, vehicles, and other possessions, none of which would be covered by a joint account.

Get Skilled Estate Planning Advice Today

Sadly, many people receive bad advice online and fall for the trap of thinking there is an easy way of planning one’s estate. In truth, there are numerous pitfalls for the unwary. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can help you develop a clear and straightforward plan for your estate that will preserve assets while you are alive and protect those you love when you are gone. Call or visit Five Points Law Group online to get answers to all your most complicated estate questions today.

 

Allen Arnold
Allen Arnold
Allen has practiced in the field of employment litigation, almost exclusively representing employees, for his entire career.

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