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Ellen Messing, an employment attorney with the Boston law firm of Shilepsky, Messing & Rudavsky, offers these suggestions if you feel you've been fired as the result of age discrimination: 1. Don't be pressured into signing anything quickly, or without legal advice.

2. If at all possible, see a lawyer right away. Very short deadlines apply to most claims for age discrimination.

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3. Determine your goals. A large monetary award may take years to litigate. Is a quick settlement more important?

4. Assemble records and papers reflecting the history of your employment.

5. Talk to other employees who were discharged or pressured into resigning. They may have useful information, or they may be interested in jointly pursuing legal action with you.

6. Seek unemployment compensation.

7. File claims with federal and state agencies administering anti-discrimination laws.

8. Look for a new job. If you decide to sue, you may need to show that you took steps to find a new position to prove that your ex-employer, and not a lack of effort on your part, caused your economic losses.

9. If you have a strong case and are prepared for the costs and delays of litigation, consider suing your employer.

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