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Age discrimination cases grow - winnable, but tough to prove?

Studies have been conducted to determine what types of biases in hiring practices and on-the-job actions are the most prevalent. Much information has been produced regarding employment biases in Texas and elsewhere across The United States and it has been shown, unfortunately, that race and gender can still play a role in what goes on in the workplace. One of the toughest forms of workplace bias to prove, however, is age discrimination.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that it typically takes an older man or woman between two to six months longer to find a job than a younger worker. The older worker's new job is also more likely to pay less than the previously held position. Many employers prefer to hire and keep on the payroll younger workers who are willing to work for less than older and more experienced individuals.

Proving that age is a factor in an employer's hiring practices or workplace actions became tougher in 2009 as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the ruling showed that an employee must be able to prove that age was a determining rather than a contributing factor in the disputed action. This is a much tougher standard, but cases can be won when the evidence shows that that age bias was the cause behind the employer's actions. It may also be discovered that age bias is an institutionalized practice rather than an isolated event and that the employer has a record of such actions.

Age discrimination cases are on the rise, with almost 23,000 such claims filed in 2012 -- an amount which represents 23 percent of all discrimination claims filed that year. Overall, the baby boomer generation (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) represents the age group with the fastest-growing number of workplace and hiring bias claims. Although the standards are tougher, Texas residents who feel that they have been discriminated against due to their age will do well to seek the assistance of those are who are well-versed and experienced in the ways and means of investigating and conducting a successful age bias claim.

Source: The New York Times, "Three Men, Three Ages. Which Do You Like?" Michael Winerip, July 22, 2013

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