got layed off and then my company filled my position

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got layed off and then my company filled my position

my wife (28 years of age) was layed off on March 9th and she received severance (3 weeks). her company has been reducing the workforce since the fall of 2008. she was a level 3 landscape architect in a group of 5. we have learned that the company has hired a male college graduate to work in her old group. this seems wrong to us, can you help me understand what other information is needed to see if we should pursue a lawsuit? we live in VA.

Asked on May 19, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should talk to an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination lawsuits, and you might be able to find one at our website, http://attorneypages.com

These cases are very complex, often long, drawn-out and nasty battles, and they can be tough to prove.  It's possible that you could prove gender-based discrimination here, if everyone else who works at the company as a landscape architect is male.  It might be theoretically possible to prove age discrimination, but I would certainly not put a lot of hope on that argument.  Usually, you have to start by proving something that at least looks like discrimination, part of which might be, here, that your wife was the only woman in the group, and they didn't really like having a woman working with them, so they fired her and hired a man.  Then, it would be up to the employer to show a good faith reason for what they did, and if they were able to do that, you'd have to prove that their good faith reason was just a pretext for the discrimination.


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