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Top Age Discrimination Lawyer Response: How Do I Prove An Age Discrimination Case?

| Apr 5, 2014 | Age Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Wrongful Termination |

Best Age Discrimination Attorney Answer: What should I do if I was wrongfully terminated based on my age? Can layoffs be based on age? How do I find a wrongful termination lawyer?

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) defines age discrimination as: “treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.” Under the federal law’s Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and Ohio law’s R.C. § 4112.02(N), R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14, age discrimination is unlawful. But, what does this mean? How do you prove an age discrimination case?

The most common way is to simply show that when a worker that is over 40 years old was fired from his or her job and replaced by someone substantially younger. Of course, employers have gotten wise to this risk, and have countered by have “workforce reductions” caused by “budget cuts” or “structural reorganizations” where the older worker is not directly replaced by a new employee. So, what happens then?

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At that point, our employment lawyers look to the qualifications of the older fired employees and compare them to the employees that were retained. We also look to the employer’s own policies. For example, many employers have a last in, first out policy. This is essentially a policy where the last person hired is the first person to be laid off. It makes a lot of common sense and is objectively fair.

The problem for employers is when the boss ignores this policy when seeking to get rid of older employees. Take the age discrimination case of Timothy Barber, 61, who worked for the Missouri Department of Public Safety. After working there for almost 30 years, his job fired him “because of budget concerns.” In addition to Tim, the Department of Public Safety also fired two other senior special agents. But, here is the catch: Department of Public Safety had previously made layoffs based on reverse order of time served, and the four youngest special agents in the office, who had less seniority, kept their jobs. Clearly, this looks like age discrimination.

So, Tim makes a claim and the only settlement offer is to get his employment back if, and only if, he releases his age discrimination case. Tim rightful rejected and took his age discrimination case to court.

At trial, Tim’s attorneys suggested that jury award Barber three years’ worth of lost wages less what he receives in retirement money, which would appear to be about $100,000. The jury ignored this request and awarded Tim $540,000 in actual damages. But wait, there is more. To punish the Department for intentional age discrimination and wrongful termination, the jury tacked on $600,000 in punitive damages. That is $1.14 million total.

If you are an employee over the age of 40 years old and believe that you are being discriminated because you are older than other employees; or have be wrongfully terminated or fired instead of someone younger or were replaced with some younger than you, you may have an age discrimination claim under Ohio law or the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Even if you are not sure about your age discrimination claim, you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. Age discrimination claims have very short statute of limitations, which means that you only have a very short amount of time to figure out if you have an age discrimination claim and take action. It is unlawful for employers to treat older employees differently. At the free initial consultation, you can tell us the specifics about how “my boss did …” or what happened on “my job.”

Disclaimer:

The materials available at the top of the age discrimination blog page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any age discrimination claim questions or any particular employment law issue that you may have. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship for your employment law needs. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.