The pandemic led to stay-at-home orders and essentially shut down a number of businesses. Even as things slowly started to re-open, the hospitality industry, restaurants and even retail chains struggled to keep their doors open. In response, many sent workers home for a temporary layoff with promises of a return to work in the future.
Now that things are reopening more steadily, some of these workers find themselves getting a notice of termination only to discover their former employer has hired younger staff in their place. In a recent example, a boutique hotel out of Manhattan is facing a class action lawsuit for age discrimination. A number of more senior staff allege the hotel management hired younger maids, porters and doormen and laid off older workers, many of whom had been with the hotel for decades. The workers have moved forward with their lawsuit, stating the hotel violated the Age Discrimination and Employment Act as well as various state and local laws.
What types of legal remedies are available?
Legal remedies are available if a worker can establish discrimination in this type of a case. These options often include:
- Reinstatement. This would result in the employer providing the same position, or as near as possible, that the worker would have held if the employer had not discriminated against the worker in the first place.
- Monetary award. In cases of intentional age discrimination, a court may allow liquidated damages. This is essentially an award that is meant to punish the employer for reckless or malicious behavior.
- Court fees. If discrimination is present the court could also require the employer to cover the attorney’s fees, the cost of any expert witnesses and any other additional court costs.
If the workers in the above case can gather evidence to support their claim, they could have a successful case. Workers who believe they are in a similar situation are wise to reach out to legal counsel with experience in this area of the law. The attorneys at Alan C. Olson & Associates can help review the situation and discuss your legal options.