You absolutely need to have an employment attorney represent you at the EEOC hearing. Look here on Avvo with the Find a Lawyer tool
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.
A claimant under the ADEA can recover reimbursement for lost wages and front pay can be available in certain limited circumstances. A claimant cannot recover damages for pain and suffering. In cases of willful violations, a claimant might be able to obtain "liquidated damages," which in effect multiplies the recover by two. Finally, you can also recover attorney fees in bringing a lawsuit.
From what you have posted, it sounds like it is reasonable to ask for back pay, front pay, and liquidated damages.
I hope this answer provided some helpful guidance. If not, I am happy to answer follow up questions.
It seems fair to assume that this company, with its history of dealing with the EEOC, will be well represented. Whether or not you plan to have counsel with you at this conciliation, I suggest that you speak with an employment attorney in preparation for the conciliation, to talk about what you can expect, and what a fair settlement amount might be. Give yourself every advantage that you can.
Notice: My answer to your question is general information. It does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not governed by confidentiality rules. This general information is not a substitute for sitting down and discussing your circumstances with an attorney. If you would like to schedule a consultation regarding your employment law issue with Rachel, contact her office at 303.865.3733.
When an employer is inclined to make an early offer and to try to settle a claim in advance of and without expensive, time-consuming, and risky legal process, the employer inevitably expects to accomplish that result for less than the claimant might have obtained by full-out legal process. You have asked whether it is "reasonable to ask" for the full Monty. No reason not to ask, in most circumstances. But if you are asking whether it is reasonable to EXPECT to achieve a settlement that is the virtual maximum, the answer would be very different.
One of the very critical utilities of skilled and experienced legal counsel is in developing realistic and probable expectations. Defining success, and establishing the range of the definition of success in a particular matter, is a high skill and inevitably beyond the capabilities of a pro per with no reference points.
No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship set forth in a written document executed by the client and by me or a member of my firm. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. I can give advice, make recommendations and answer specific questions only after reviewing the evidence and documents applicable to a specific client and following a personal meeting in my office in which the relevant facts can be developed and analyzed. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.
I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.
In nearly every case that goes to mediation or conciliation, you need your own attorney. The EEOC is not your representative. A mediator/conciliator for the EE has one client – the United States of America. Some EEOC representatives are great and will do their best to protect you rights even though they are not your advocate. Some EEOC representatives stink and care more about closing the case than they care about your rights.
Because the EEOC has a particular mission and because it is not representing you, if it turns out your interests and those of the EEOC clash, the EEOC rep will first and foremost make sure the agency’s goals are carried out, not yours.
Also, the EEOC will only consider issues relevant to laws the EEOC enforces, such as discrimination laws. It will not consider such things as employer liability under state law (which in some states may be substantially more than under federal law), wage and hour violations, mutuality in the settlement agreement, circumstances under which you might have to return the money, the language of the settlement agreement (which could have all kinds of "gotchas" that the EEOC doesn't notice or doesn't deal with), and more.
In addition, EEOC conciliators and mediators most often handle low-value cases because that is what ends up in their offices. They handle high-value cases far less frequently, and even less frequently handle high-value cases where the charging party doesn’t have an attorney. If you show up without an attorney, the representative may interpret your case as low-value, even if it isn’t. Of course the representative may learn the value of your case during the mediation, but why start off with such a large obstacle?
Similarly, without an attorney, the employer probably won't take you or your case seriously, and may be able to take advantage of you. No one is watching your back if you don't have your own attorney.
Consider that the employer most likely has an attorney or has consulted with its attorney. Even if the employer doesn't have an attorney, it usually has human resources personnel who have been down this route before and know far better than you do how to use the system to its own advantage.
It is nearly always the case that a charging party will do better overall with an attorney, even taking into consideration the attorney's fees portion of the recovery.
Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to speak with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney.
You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site www.nela.org. NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope there is a good resolution to this situation.
@MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: 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 must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *