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How to prove Age Discrimination in the Workplace

The Age Discrimination in Employment  Act or (ADEA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against employees over the age of 40.

  • 623 of the ADEA makes it unlawful to:

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age;

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age; or

(3) to reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this Act.

Proving Age Discrimination

In order to prove age discrimination a plaintiff must present evidence:

  1. that they were members of a protected age class;
  2. that they were discharged;
  3. that they were qualified for the positions they held; and
  4. that they were replaced by a younger worker.

To state a claim for age discrimination under the ADEA, a plaintiff must allege that 3 (1) he is over forty, (2) he is qualified for the position in question, (3) he suffered from an adverse employment decision, and (4) his replacement was sufficiently younger to permit a reasonable inference of age discrimination

Direct and Indirect Evidence

A plaintiff may establish a violation of the ADEA by either direct or circumstantial evidence. “Direct evidence of discrimination is that evidence which, if believed, requires the conclusion that unlawful discrimination was at least a motivating factor in the employer’s actions. “Circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, is proof that does not on its face establish discriminatory animus but does allow a factfinder to draw a reasonable inference that discrimination occurred. The second method for an employee to prove discrimination on the basis of age is by presentation of statistical evidence demonstrating a pattern of discrimination against individuals in the protected age group.

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