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Age Discrimination is Against the Law

Age discrimination is a creeping disease which has reached epidemic proportions. Employers, with increasing intensity, are attempting to remove older employees from their work force and the excuses they offer for the termination of these older employees are, in many instances, cruel.

The law does not require a "smoking gun" to confirm age discrimination in the workplace. The burden an employee has in order to establish age discrimination, as well as any other form of employment discrimination, is not as stringent as the burden of proof required in other types of cases. Our courts have frequently held that employment discrimination can be established with circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is less than direct evidence, which includes witnesses or written proof. Circumstantial evidence involves making reasonable inferences based on the proof available.

There will never be a memorandum written by management saying, "let's get rid of the older people." However, there will likely be ample circumstantial evidence. One example would be if a company were to fire 12 people over the age of 40 and replace them with 12 people younger than 40 years of age. It is at that point one might make a reasonable inference, based on the circumstantial proof available, that this particular company had a hostility toward older employees and may be engaging in the practice of age discrimination. In the field of employment law, circumstantial evidence can be very powerful in protecting the rights of employees in the workplace.

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