How to Prove Age Discrimination in the Workplace

Posted by Sessions & Kimball |

In today’s evolving workplace demographic, the issue of age discrimination is rapidly gaining attention. Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of their age.

Enacted to protect individuals from such bias, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act wards against prejudice based on seniority at work. This ground-breaking act specifically protects people who are 40 years and older, assuring they receive equal opportunities and fair treatment without their age imposing barriers for professional growth.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment. The ADEA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

Examples of Age Discrimination

Age Discrimination can manifest in various forms, and an Orange County age discrimination attorney can help you understand these situations in more detail. Here are some examples:

Hiring Age Bias: A younger candidate is favored over an equally or more qualified older applicant despite relevant credentials, experience, or skills.

Discrepancies in Compensation: Older employees receiving lower wages than younger counterparts for performing the same job responsibilities can amount to age-based discrimination.

Age-Based Harassment: Subjecting an employee to offensive remarks about their age constitutes harassment when it becomes frequent enough to create a hostile work environment.

Assignment Inequities: Older staff members being overlooked for rewarding assignments, opportunities for advancement, or beneficial training sessions can be seen as age discrimination.

Layoffs or Reductions: During company layoffs, if older workers find themselves disproportionately impacted – this too can point towards discriminatory practices based on age.

These patterns not only contribute towards a biased job environment but also violate the legal standards set by ADEA and other similar state laws.

Proving Age Discrimination

Proving age discrimination in an employment setting is a nuanced process. Direct and indirect evidence can both play key roles:

Direct vs Indirect Evidence: Direct evidence refers to explicit statements or actions indicative of age bias – like an employer making derogatory remarks about older employees. 

Indirect evidence requires you to establish a nexus between your age and unfair treatment through circumstantial facts.

Some common types of evidence include:

Patterns of Discrimination: By collecting data on company wide layoffs, promotions, or hiring, you may be able to reveal patterns showing consistent disadvantages for older workers compared with their younger colleagues. 

Performance Reviews: Often, age discrimination can manifest subtly in the form of negative performance reviews which suddenly appear for older workers without any demonstrable decrease in work quality or output. An employment lawyer can help distinguish between legitimate performance issues and actions driven by bias.

Witness Testimony: Witness testimonies can play a pivotal role when you’re trying to prove age discrimination in the court of law. They provide firsthand accounts from individuals who have either experienced or witnessed unjust treatment due to age. 

Relevant witness statements may include those from co-workers who’ve observed discriminatory behavior, or perhaps even former employees who left because they perceived an environment that was biased against older workers. Orange County employment attorneys at Sessions & Kimball LLP are here to help you and are committed to championing your workplace rights. 

Contact an Age Discrimination Lawyer

Proving age discrimination is not an easy task, but with the right pieces of evidence, it becomes possible. 

You should meticulously document any incidents indicative of discriminatory behavior; gather all useful information from reliable witnesses and secure any emails or documents that suggest prejudice based on age.

Finally, don’t hesitate to seek professional counsel when you believe you are being discriminated against due to your age. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.