Discrimination can take many forms today in the workplace. Employers are still motivated by the age of an employee when making employment decisions in spite of decades of well-settled law and the numerous regulations set forth by the EEOC, the federal agency charged with enforcement of the age discrimination act. Some institutions actively seek out younger individuals, as they have misconceived notions about older people not being as energetic and effective in their assigned roles.
Recently, Darden Restaurants has made headlines for discriminating against applicants based on their age. Although they claim no wrongdoing, it was alleged their hiring managers used illegal practices to avoid hiring applicants referred to as “old white guys”. The EEOC has stated that they have settled the lawsuit, after three years of litigation, in the amount of $2.85 million and will require all hiring managers to take new training for non-discriminatory hiring practices.
If you’re dealing with the same type of unfair treatment at work, there are several ways you can prove it for a potential lawsuit.
4 Ways to Prove an Age Discrimination Case
- Direct Comments
The easiest way to establish an age discrimination case is when your employer or potential employer makes a direct comment about your age. Even when they’re joking, these comments can be hurtful and are illegal. Whether you are on the job or applying for one, such comments should never be tolerated.
If this happens, you need to write down the exact words and phrases that were said. Also note the date, who said it, and any witnesses that may have heard the comments. The information you gather can be used as tangible evidence in court, should you file an age discrimination suit against your employer or manager.
Being verbally attacked isn’t the only form of age discrimination. In fact, leaving you out of specific work activities, such as meetings and events, can be considered to be a form of discrimination, if based on your age.
However, exclusion based on age is harder to prove than direct comments. You will need to show you were left out of the events, not due to your job performance, but rather because you were being discriminated against. Again, just as with any form of discrimination, take notes detailing the facts which you believe support a claim of discrimination. If you believe you were left out, ask your direct supervisor why and jot down the response. If reasons you are given are not valid (or just seem to be made up out of thin air), you need to consider hiring an Employment Lawyer.
- Promotion Denials
One of the best feelings at work is being promoted to a new position. Not only does it lead to more responsibilities, but it could also result in a significant pay bump. If you have yet to receive a promotion, even though you’ve been with that particular company for many years and your performance has been nothing but stellar, unlawful practices may be the culprit.
Even today, age discrimination is alive and well. When companies engage in these types of practices, you deserve justice. As long as you collect enough evidence, an age discrimination attorney can help you build a case and help you recover compensation for the injustice that was done.
- Denied Employment
The applicants at Darden Restaurants were allegedly denied employment based on their age. How were they able to reach a settlement? By proving they were qualified for the job and providing evidence they experienced some form of harassment or discrimination during the hiring process. Documenting your experience is crucial to proving your case.
If you’ve applied to a job, were denied employment and believe you have a case, it’s important to not only have documentation available but to speak to a reputable Labor Law attorney who can ensure you have what is needed to prove your case.
The employee rights attorneys of Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. have helped thousands of employees fight back against discrimination in the workplace. If you need to speak to an attorney to represent your case, contact us today to schedule your confidential consultation. We have locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando to better serve you.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.