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How to Prove Age Discrimination?

March 7th, 2024
Contact a Philadelphia Age Discrimination Lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. for Help with Your Case

In any discrimination lawsuit, you must meet the burden of proof to show that the employer acted wrongfully. While you may not need direct evidence of age discrimination, you would at least need enough circumstantial evidence to prove that your employer acted illegally. It is vital to hire an experienced attorney to help build your case.

Unfortunately, age discrimination is a rampant problem in the workplace. Roughly two-thirds of workers over 50 believe they are less valuable than younger workers. Some of these perceptions come from the treatment they receive from management and coworkers. Even if employees are not outright fired on account of their age, they may be subject to other adverse employment actions, such as negative performance reviews and being passed over for promotions.

Your Claim Must Be Supported by Evidence

If you file a discrimination lawsuit, you must back up your allegations with evidence. Your employer will always have another reason for acting as they did. Usually, they will couch adverse employment actions in performance terms. They will make it your fault because that is their only option.

You must have evidence that shifts the burden back to your employer to defend themselves against allegations of age discrimination. You may use some of the following to prove an age discrimination case:

  • Offhand statements or comments your supervisor makes about age, whether in general or related to you.
  • Evidence that you have been performing your job satisfactorily.
  • Any communications you may have contradicting the given reason for the adverse employment action.
  • Witness testimony, either about how people have seen you being treated or the overall environment at the workplace.

The Legal Test for Age Discrimination

There is a test under federal law to help determine whether you have been the victim of age discrimination. You would need evidence that would help you prove each element of this test. The United States Supreme Court handed down the specific judicial test in the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green case.

The steps that you must meet to prove age discrimination are as follows:

  • You are within the protected age group.
  • You were doing satisfactory work at the time you were terminated.
  • You were terminated despite the satisfactory work that you were doing.
  • The employer ultimately filled the position with the younger employee.

The Employer Can Still Give a Legitimate Reason for Your Firing

Meeting this test does not automatically mean winning an age discrimination case. Your employer can still counter your allegations by showing they had a legitimate reason for the termination. If they can make this showing, the burden then shifts back to you to show that the employment action was a pretext.

You do not always have to show discriminatory intent. However, you must provide evidence that the employer’s reason for terminating you was not supported by the facts of your situation.

Questions about age discrimination are not just limited to termination. You may have been passed over for a promotion you believe deserved. You could have been treated more poorly than a younger employee regarding other employment benefits.

Contact a Philadelphia Age Discrimination Lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. for Help with Your Case

A Philadelphia age discrimination lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. can help you take on your employer when they have subjected you to illegal treatment. We can get justice on your behalf by fighting for you every step. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Cherry Hill.

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