Legal Question in Employment Law in California

our firm decided to cut the secretarial staff in half. If we don't accept the buyout, the firm will make cut baesd on certain criteria: retirement age, years of service and skill set. Most of us have only done litigatiob. However, there are a couple who can accommodate other practice groups. My big concern is that partner secretaries would be spared regardless of skill set. I've never worked with or given the opportunity to pair with any other practice group. They know I have a disability. I am concerned of being on the short list because of it an that I don't have the protection of a partner, but I have an excellent record a a lit secretary. Could I have an ADEA claim if they cut me as opposed to one with less experience who works for a partner?

Asked on 3/06/13, 10:00 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Charles Perry Law Offices of Charles R. Perry

You need to speak directly with a plaintiff-side employment lawyer about your claim. It is too fact-specific for anyone to be of assistance in a public forum like this. A good lawyer will ask you a large number of follow-up questions to help you figure out if you have a claim, and that cannot be done in a public forum.

Best of luck to you.

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Answered on 3/07/13, 1:55 am

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Mr. Perry is right. I can, however, give you a general answer to your general question. Employment and Disability law does not protect workers from bad personnel decisions. In the case of a disability discrimination or any other discrimination claim, the biggest hurdle is that you have to have proof that the adverse employment action was done because of the feature of the employee that is given legal protection. Retaining a less experienced employee while laying off a more experienced minority, disabled or older employee, is one indication of possible discrimination, but it is not automatic proof by itself. As you mention, you have two strikes against you - only litigation experience and no partner who would advocate to keep you - both of which would be perfectly legal reasons to let you go and keep someone else if they have to let secretaries go, You would have to find proof that your disability was a factor in the choice of who to fire before you would have a legal claim that would get anywhere in court.

It is possible that I could give you a more complete answer and/or refer you to local resources if I knew where you are located. However, LawGuru for some unknown reason decided to stop asking questioners for their zip code. That makes it impossible for us attorneys answering questions to provide a location specific answer. In many cases what county or even city you are in is crucial to the help we can provide, especially if you are asking a Family Law, Real Estate, or Landlord/Tenant question. If you appreciate my providing you this free answer, please take a moment to contact LawGuru Support and complain about this. Thanks.

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Answered on 3/07/13, 9:20 am

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