In order to waive a right to an age discrimination claim, the settlement agreement must provide a certain amount of time to consider the agreement and another set of time to rescind the agreement after acceptance. However, waiting five years to address the issue is definately too late.
I am sorry things have not gone well for you. Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with an optimistic opinion. This is because there are probably two major obstacles preventing you from taking your former employer back to court.
The first, is you probably signed a complete release of all claims against the city, in order for them to settle with you. Most settlement agreements are carefully drafted and contain a release of every conceivable legal claim, even those you may not know exist, against the party you have brought claims against. It is not uncommon for the employer to demand that the employee resign, as a condition of the settlement. That is a factor which must be considered at the time of the settlement.
The other problem is one of time. If all of the events which gave rise to your legal claims occurred 5 or more years ago, they are long gone. The statute of limitations will have run.
Now, if there have been more recent unlawful activities that give rise to a new claim, that could be a different scenario. But it is too late to do anything about events which happened to you 5 years or more.
They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.
What a horrible situation. I'm so sorry to hear about what has happened to you. I wish I had anything helpful to suggest, but unfortunately, I agree with Mr. Kirschbaum that it is too late to pursue any claim, and you probably signed an agreement waiving your right to sue.
Some of my clients who are in comparable situations have made an extra effort to perform volunteer work. Their motivation is primarily to fill holes in their resumes and develop relationships with managers or other who can write them more recent reference letters. Perhaps you may have some luck trying a similar approach.
Employment rights come from the state and federal legislatures. One of the best things people can do to improve their employment rights is vote for candidates with a good record on pro-employee, anti-corporate legislation.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***