Best Age Discrimination Attorney Answer: Are there any laws that protect against age discriminatory hiring practices? Can a company post a job for applicants under a certain age? Can I sue for employment discrimination in the hiring process?
So, they say that age is only a number. Tell that to many discriminatory employers who count every year of the ages of their employees and applicants to make sure that that have a younger workforce. These employers would readily trade experience that comes with age for the perception of more energy or a potentially longer tenure from younger employees, which given how many millennials don’t work very hard and jump from job to job is quite a funny misconception by these employers.
At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, our employment discrimination lawyers frequently find ourselves helping employees who face age discrimination by their bosses, managers and supervisor. For some reason, these employers just don’t get that making employment decisions based on the age of older workers is prohibited under Ohio and federal law. Specifically, as our employment law attorneys have blogged about before, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA“) as well as Ohio law (R.C. § 4112.02(N), R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14), make it unlawful for an employer 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 such individual is over the age of 40. (See Can I Sue For Age Discrimination? – Call The Right Attorney; Can My Job Change Rules Against Older Workers?; I Wasn’t Promoted Because I’m Older! – Call The Right Attorney; and Where, When, & How To File An Age Discrimination Claim?).
One way to prove age discrimination under the ADEA is for the employee to set forth “direct” evidence of age discrimination. Direct evidence of age discrimination includes an employer’s comments referring directly to an employee’s age.
In Stennett v. Tupelo Public School, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned the district court’s granting of summary judgment as to Mary Stennett’s claims under the ADEA, specifically that she was not hired by the employer based on her age. Prior to the discriminatory conduct, Stennett had worked with Tupelo for several years as an educator. In June, 2011, Stennett, who was now 66 years old, applied for seven different positions with Tupelo after learning that her current position was not being maintained by the school. Specifically, Stennett applied for the following positions: (1) Tupelo Middle School Assistant Principal; (2) Lawndale Elementary Assistant Principal; (3) Lawhon Administrative Intern; (4) High School Advancement Academy Lead Teacher; (5) Tupelo High School Testing Coordinator; (6) Tupelo High School Assistant Principal; and (7) District Testing Coordinator at the Central Office.
After applying to each of the seven positions listed above, Tupelo rejected Stennett for each of the positions and hired “substantially younger” individuals to each of those positions. Moreover, Stennett was only interviewed for two of the seven positions for which she applied. As a result of not getting one of these seven positions, Stennett was officially without a job with Tupelo. Thereafter, she filed suit, claiming age discrimination. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi granted summary judgment against Stennett, finding that she failed to carry her burden of proving that she was “clearly better qualified” than the other applicants and therefore, she “failed to meet her burden of establishing a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant’s proffered reason for failing to hire her is mere pretext.”
The Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed the district court’s ruling:
Applying this standard here, we conclude that TPSD was not entitled to summary judgment. As an initial matter, Stennett produced compelling evidence establishing her prima facie case with respect to each of the seven positions in question. “[T]his evidence and inferences properly drawn therefrom may be considered by the trier of fact on the issue of whether the defendant’s explanation is pretextual. …
Specifically, Stennett has presented evidence showing (i) that she possessed comparatively exemplary qualifications for the jobs in question; (ii) that TPSD failed to even interview her for five of the seven positions notwithstanding those exemplary qualifications; (iii) that TPSD relied upon reasons that were peripheral to the job duties or subjective in nature for some of the positions in question; and (iv) that TPSD failed to re-hire on a full-time basis the other three oldest employees at the Fillmore Center
Importantly, the Court of Appeals rejected the district court’s holding that Stennett had to show that she was “clearly better qualified” than the applicants who were hired for those seven positions. Rather, the Court of Appeals stated:
A reasonable jury could consider the strength of Stennett’s qualifications vis-à-vis the successful younger applicants as undermining the credibility of TPSD’s proffered hiring rationale—i.e., that the younger successful applicants were selected because they were all better qualified than her. Indeed, evidence of a plaintiff’s superior qualifications is directly probative of pretext, and Stennett need not establish that she was “clearly better qualified” in order for this court to consider her comparatively exemplary qualifications in tandem with the other evidence, outlined infra, supporting the inference that TPSD’s proffered hiring rationale is pretextual.
In addition, the Court of Appeals held that Tupelo’s failure to interview Stennett for five out of the seven applied-for-job openings was evidence of pretext for age discrimination. Similarly, the Court of Appeals also gave credence to the evidence that Tupelo failed to re-hire other older employees and for those seven specific positions, used “suspect hiring criteria” that too raised suspicions about the legitimacy of the hiring process. For all of these reasons, summary judgment was reversed and Stennett will get to present her case to a jury.
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 866-797-6040. 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.”
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