Is It Difficult to Prove Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination or ageism is the unfair treatment of someone based on the person’s age. Age discrimination becomes a workplace issue when employees are unable to thrive in their work environment because of the prejudice of those around them. Although there are state and federal laws created to protect employees against these inequities, the claims process can still be quite difficult. The evidence must show that the unfavorable treatment specifically occurred because of the client’s age. When facing age discrimination in the workplace, the employee should record all the details of any incident and hold on to those notes. Next, the worker should file a report with human resources, and if things do not improve, it may be time to consult with a lawyer.

What are Different Types of age Discrimination in the Workplace?

  • Harassment. Rude or disparaging comments about someone’s age to the point at which there is a hostile work environment. Harassment can come from management, peers, or consumers.
  • Discipline. Unfair write-ups or demotions can be a sign of age discrimination if younger employees receive no consequences for the same mistakes.
  • Wrongful termination based on age.
  • Compensation. Getting less pay than younger workers in the same position.
  • Promotions. When less qualified workers gain promotions or raises over their more experienced colleagues because of age.
  • Hiring discrimination based on age.
  • Exclusion. Being regularly excluded from conferences, lunches, training programs, or other company events.

What Do I Need to Prove in an Age Discrimination Case?

  • Disparate treatment. Disparate treatment is essentially intentional discrimination. When an employee is singled out or treated poorly because of their age, it is clearly no accident. There is also a case for disparate treatment if someone less qualified gets the job over someone with experience owing to their difference in age. The employer must then prove that they hired the person for a legitimate reason that has nothing to do with age.
  • Disparate impact. Some hiring policies can also be discriminatory and geared to weed out potential employees over a certain age group, despite their qualifications. There may be other general company policies that negatively affect older employees.

What Difficulties Arise When Trying to Prove Age Discrimination?

  • Judges. Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. in 2009, a judge can dismiss claims before they ever get to trial if they do not think there is sufficient evidence.
  • Jury. The jury may be biased themselves. They may try to argue that an older employee will not be as productive as someone younger or that their skills must be declining as they get older.
  • Financial burdens. Litigation for age discrimination cases can be an expensive and time-consuming process, and matters may get worse if a client struggles to find new work. Employers may be hesitant when hiring if they see that a candidate either sued or is in the process of suing their former company.
  • Proving the discrimination was based on age. Although unfair treatment in the workplace is not ideal, just because something is wrong does not necessarily mean that it is illegal. Therefore, the employee must provide proof that they were discriminated against based on their age and would not have otherwise been mistreated.

What Laws Protect Employees from Age Discrimination?

  • The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The NJLAD prohibits discrimination in the workplace, including in hiring, firing, compensation, terms of employment, and retirement. The law protects an employee or potential employee from discrimination based on a protected characteristic such as age.
  • The Federal Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Age discrimination against employees or potential hires is forbidden for public and private companies with five or more employees under the FEHA. The act also protects workers from retaliation from their employers should they choose to move forward with a claim.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA fights age discrimination from public companies or private companies with more than 20 workers.

South Jersey Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC, Protect the Rights of Older Workers

If you or a loved one has suffered because of age discrimination in the work place, the South Jersey employment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC, are here to help. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will help build your case and protect your rights of employment.  Call us today at 856-235-7075 or contact us online for a free consultation. With office locations in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from Cherry Hill, Burlington County, Camden County, and throughout South Jersey.