I am a 55 year-old female with 19 years on my job as an associate college professor. I've gotten excellent reviews every year, I've maintained my skills and knowledge in my teaching area, and I am well liked by my students. There is a colleague who is about 12 years younger than me, has less than 1/3 my years of service and teaches exactly the same courses. I was let go because "enrollment had dropped in my area" but she was retained. My salary is quite a bit higher than hers and I think that was the primary reason for eliminating me. I can file a grievance with the state but I think I should retain an attorney just to protect my rights.
I am not licensed in Virginia so the following should not be construed as legal advice but simply as information intended to be helpful. If you want legal advice I urge you to consult Virginia-licensed counsel.
If you are a member of a union, your employment is most likely subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Generally collective bargaining agreements have very short periods within which to file grievances. If you do not grieve your termination you may lose your rights. I urge you to consult your union rep, if you belong to a union, and to file a grievance immediately.
I also urge you to consult a lawyer in Virginia with a wrongful termination/employment-law practice. You may have remedies under both Federal and State law. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act may provide remedies, although if your college is a state college the ADEA may *not* apply. Many states have human rights acts or fair employment practices acts which protect employees against age-related discrimination. Only a lawyer licensed to practice within the jurisdiction in which you are employed can provide legal advice as to whether you have an age-discrimination claim which is likely to succeed. I urge you to consult an appropriate employment lawyer.
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