Following allegations of systematic age discrimination, Google recently agreed to pay $11 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by hundreds of plaintiffs who said the big tech company violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA prohibits discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, and conditions or privileges of employment.
Unfortunately, despite the law, employers large and small often engage in age bias overtly, or otherwise, effectively locking out older employees. Reading between the lines, older job applicants may see it in job descriptions that may include potentially age linked language such as “seeking ‘digital natives’ or applicants with ‘limited experience’” meant to appeal to a younger recruits. Older employees may see younger workers rapidly climb the ladder while they sit idle after years of slugging it out or fear losing their job only to be replaced by someone less advanced in years and experience.
Age discrimination complaints are on the rise as workers remain in the workforce longer. While some employees want to stay on because of the improved health and vitality that more Americans enjoy throughout their lives, a larger percentage of workers don’t have the luxury of retiring due to astronomical healthcare costs and paltry retirement savings or may be helping kids and grandkids who need support to make ends meet. Older workers often have as many financial stressors as younger workers, but they may face age discrimination when they try to stay on.
How to Prove Age Discrimination
Of course, employers have a right to make decisions motivated by cost savings, which may include cutting high paid employees even if it disproportionately impacts older workers who may enjoy higher incomes. However, employers do discriminate against older workers simply because of their age.
There is a high burden of proof on workers who allege age discrimination when compared to those alleging other types of employment discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, or sex including gender discrimination or sexual harassment claims. If an employee believes they have been wrongfully terminated or otherwise suffered an adverse employment action due to age discrimination, he or she must show that they were truly discriminated against based on their age.
Under the ADEA, the “but-for” standard of causation is required, which requires plaintiffs to prove that “because of” their age, and for no other reason, they suffered discrimination. This varies somewhat from other protected classes who only have to show that a protected trait such as sex or religion “played a role” or was one of several potential reasons why they were the victims of discrimination.
Contact an Employment Discrimination Based on Age Lawyer
If you are a victim of employment age discrimination, it is helpful to seek the help of an experienced employment discrimination lawyer. Contact the Des Moines employment age discrimination Law Offices of Marc Humphrey for immediate assistance at 515-331-3510.