should I sue or take the money and run

I work for a large corporation and have worked for them for 22 years, I am 52 years old. Rumor has it some of us may be terminated soon, the company offers severance of 2 weeks per year but you must sign a contract not to sue for discrimination. This amounts to 45000 dollars for me. Would it be wise to sign or do I have a case to sue for age discrimination if others in my group with less time, skills, etc are retained

1 answer  |  asked May 17, 2001 6:41 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
To Sue or Not to Sue

The key law for age discrimination is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Generally speaking, you don't have an age discrimination case simply because you are 52 years old. In order to succeed in an ADEA case, you need to show that your employer selected you for termination, at least partially, because of your age. That generally involves more than your showing your age.

That those who have been retained are younger than you would be some evidence of age discrimination, but it might not be enough to prove age discrimination.

If you believe that your employer might be discriminating against you on the basis of age, you really need to speak with an employment lawyer. A discussion allows for the easier exchange of information. In truth, you personally may not have enough to prove age discrimination, but you've been there for 22 years. You may nonetheless have sufficient information, which might not necessarily be evidence, to let an experienced employment lawyer to get a feel for whether you have a strong enough case to pursue into court.

I believe that you are generally better off settling rather than litigating. Whether $45,000 is a fair settlement for you, I have no way of knowing. It depends on all sorts of things, such as how your employer has treated you up to now, what your chances are of finding comparable employment, your salary, etc. Again, you need to speak with an employment lawyer.

posted by David M. Lira  |  May 21, 2001 09:10 AM [EST]

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