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December 19, 2023

Average Age Discrimination Settlement in California (2023-2024)

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: The usual settlement for age discrimination cases in California is somewhere between $150,000 and $1,000,000. The exact amount of an age discrimination settlement can fluctuate greatly, influenced by the specifics of each individual case, with some settlements being considerably more or less. For less severe age discrimination cases, the settlement is likely to be around $150,000. For more severe cases, the settlement can surpass $1,000,000.

Average Age Discrimination Settlement in California

Complexity of Case Average California Age Discrimination Settlement
Minor Approximately: $100,000
Moderate Approximately: $250,000
High Approximately: $1,000,000

Please be aware that these figures are estimates and the real settlement may differ based on the unique aspects of the case. We always recommend consulting with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific situation. 

Example Age Discrimination Cases

Here are some examples of age discrimination cases with their settlement amounts:

  1. Six plaintiffs brought a lawsuit against a company, accusing it of creating conditions intended to push older employees towards resignation. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding the company guilty of age discrimination. Consequently, the company was ordered to pay a settlement of $18.3 million.
  2. In this case, a 64-year-old employee was terminated so that the employer could hire younger employees. The court ruled in favor of the employee and awarded a settlement of $16 million. This case underscored the illegality of terminating an employee based on age with the intention of replacing them with younger employees.
  3. A former sports columnist at the Los Angeles Times was awarded $15.4 million in damages for age and disability discrimination. The employee was demoted following health problems, which the court found to be a discriminatory act based on the employee’s age and disability.

These instances underscore the serious repercussions of age discrimination in professional settings. Keep in mind that each case is distinct, and the settlement sums can vary due to a variety of factors.

Factors That Influence Age Discrimination Settlement Amounts

Here are some factors that can influence the settlement amounts in age discrimination cases:

  1. Strength of Evidence

The strength of your evidence plays a crucial role in determining the settlement amount. This includes any documentation, witness testimonies, or other proof that supports your claim of age discrimination.

  1. Nature and Extent of Damages

The nature and extent of damages you suffered as a direct result of the discrimination can significantly influence the settlement amount. This could include lost wages, emotional distress, and other forms of harm.

  1. Outrageousness of the Employer’s Conduct

The more outrageous the employer’s discriminatory conduct, the higher the potential settlement amount. This is because egregious behavior may warrant punitive damages, which are designed to punish the employer and deter similar conduct in the future.

  1. Type of Employment Lawsuit

The type of employment lawsuit can also affect the settlement amount. For instance, a wrongful termination suit may result in a different settlement amount compared to a failure to promote suit.

  1. Size of the Company

The size of the company can influence the settlement amount. Larger companies may have more resources and may be willing to settle for a higher amount to avoid negative publicity.

  1. Type of Discrimination

The type of discrimination can also play a role in the settlement amount. Age discrimination cases may have different average settlement amounts compared to other types of discrimination, such as race or gender discrimination.

  1. Local, State, and Federal Laws

The laws surrounding age discrimination at the local, state, and federal levels can influence the settlement amount. Some jurisdictions may have laws that provide for higher damages in discrimination cases.

  1. Attorney’s Success Rate

Your attorney’s success rate can also play a role in what your settlement could be. An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a higher settlement amount on your behalf.

age discrimination typical compensation

Types of Compensation Available for Victims

Victims of age discrimination in California may be entitled to the following types of compensation:

  • Back Pay: Compensation for lost wages from the time of the discriminatory act to the resolution of the claim.
  • Front Pay: Compensation for expected future wage loss resulting from the discrimination.
  • Reinstatement: If you were terminated or demoted, you may be reinstated to your former position.
  • Promotion: If you were passed over for a promotion due to age discrimination, you may be awarded the promotion.
  • Damages for Emotional Distress: Also known as pain and suffering, you may recover compensation for mental and emotional injuries suffered because of the discrimination.

Please note that these are general guidelines and the specific compensation may vary depending on the details of the case. It’s always best to consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

How Do You Prove Age Discrimination?

To prove age discrimination in California, you generally need to establish the following:

  1. The employer was an entity covered by applicable age discrimination laws.
  2. You were 40 years old or older at the time of the adverse employment action.
  3. You were adversely affected by an employment action, such as being discharged, refused to hire, demoted, or subjected to a pay cut.
  4. Your job performance met the expectations set by the employer.
  5. Your age was a substantial motivating reason for the employer’s adverse action.
  6. The position remained open or was filled by someone younger yet similarly qualified for the position.
  7. You were harmed, and the employer’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing your harm.

When You DO Have a Claim and When You DO NOT

In California, you do have an age discrimination claim if you meet the following criteria:

  • You were an employee of the entity or applied to the entity for a job
  • The entity discharged you or refused to hire you
  • You were 40 years old or older at the time
  • You were adversely affected by an employment action
  • The employer took that action because of your age

On the other hand, you do not have an age discrimination claim in the following situations:

  • You are under the age of 40. Age discrimination laws in California only protect individuals who are 40 years old or older
  • The entity that discriminated against you is not covered by applicable age discrimination laws. For example, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to employers with 20 or more employees, while the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) applies to employers with five or more employees
  • The adverse action taken by the employer was not because of your age. If the employer can prove that the action was taken for a reason other than your age, it may not be considered age discrimination

Why Hiring a Lawyer Can Be Crucial in Order to Obtain a Settlement

Going to trial often requires the skills and experience of a lawyer. They can argue your case effectively and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Working with an experienced age discrimination lawyer can also increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your losses. Therefore, while it is possible to represent yourself, having a lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your age discrimination case.

Get Connected with a Lawyer

If you believe you or someone you know has been a victim of age discrimination, you should take action. Our team at LawLinq can help connect you with experienced age discrimination lawyers who specialize in age discrimination cases in California, at no cost.  Contact LawLinq today and get access to some of the best legal assistance in the Southern California area.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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