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Proving Age Discrimination at Work

Proving Age Discrimination at Work

Three types of evidence are key to proving your claim

Under both federal law and California law, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of age. Specifically, employers cannot refuse to hire older job applicants, or take adverse job actions (such as demoting, terminating, or giving unfavorable shifts) to older employees. Age discrimination claims cannot be made by younger employees.

Age discrimination claims are increasingly common in a job market where knowledge of technology and youth are often prized over experience. But proving that you have been discriminated against on the basis of age can be a challenge. According to a skilled California employment discrimination attorney, there are three types of evidence that may be used to demonstrate that you have suffered this type of discrimination.

First, the most powerful type of proof in any type of case is direct evidence. This could include something like a comment about your age that shows that your employer or an interviewer is biased against older employees. For example, if your employer asks you, “So, how much longer until you retire?” or if an interviewer asks you how long you plan to work, those would be considered direct evidence of age discrimination. It is rare to have this kind of evidence, but for obvious reasons, it can go a long way in proving your case against an employer for discrimination.

Second, a California employment discrimination attorney can show disparate treatment. If you are the best candidate for a job, or the most experienced or qualified employee, but you don’t get hired or you are subjected to an adverse action, then it may be an example of age discrimination. Consider a situation where you interview for a position that lists a minimum requirement of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). You have a MBA, and apply for the job. A younger candidate has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, and no experience or degrees in Business Administration, and yet is hired over you. A California employment discrimination attorney could use that information to show a prima facie case of age discrimination — and the employer would then have to show that there was a legitimate reason for hiring the less qualified, younger candidate over you.

Third, there may be job requirements that have a disparate impact on older employees and applicants. On this basis, a California employment discrimination attorney could demonstrate that you have suffered age discrimination. For example, if your job is mostly sedentary but your boss decides to impose fitness requirements on all employees, that could affect older employees more than young employees.

Age discrimination can take many forms, and can happen in almost any workplace. If you have been rejected from a job or faced an adverse action at work due to age discrimination, PLBSH can help. For more than 40 years, our firm has worked with clients to help them achieve justice. Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or to schedule a free initial consultation today.

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