What is needed to prove age discrimination?

I was recently laid off after working at a Bay area high-tech company for over 10 years. The research department I was part of, was taken over by a new manager who decided to get rid of me. I’m 52 years old and am suspicious of what happened to me as the department continues to have numerous openings. I’m wondering if I have grounds to sue for age discrimination?

Asked on November 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that you have been illegally discriminated against based on your age, file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) within a certain time frame. Also, you should file a copy of the complaint with your local state office of civil rights. The EEOC will investigate and attempt to resolve the problem informally. However, while the EEOC can file suit against the employer, lawsuits are filed in a very small number of cases due to budget considrations. That having been said, you can sue independently if the EEOC does not.
First, however, you will need to be sure that you can prove your claim. You will need to prove that you were discriminated against and that this treatment was based on your age. You will need to demonstrate by a “preponderance of the evidence” that age was the “but-for cause” of your termination. In other words, you must show that the evidence makes it more likley than not that age was the deciding factor for your firing. This means that your employer would not have done what it did but for your age (i.e. without it the discrimination would not have happened).
d on the limited facts presented. You really need to consult directly with an employment law attorney. Afer hearing all of the details of your situaton, they can advise you further as to your rights/remedies.


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