What is age discrimination? In Maryland, corporations and employers are prohibited from discriminating against any employee over the age of 40 (or under the age of 40 under certain state and local laws) with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment.
How do you prove an age discrimination case? There are many different ways to prove an age discrimination case. In general, the employee must demonstrate that they would not have suffered an adverse employment action (e.g., termination, suspension, demotion, reduction in force, etc.) "but for" his or her age. One way to prove "age discrimination" is to point to similarly situated coworkers who are either younger (or in some cases older) and were treated more favorably.
Another method of proof is "direct proof." This includes comments between employees, coworkers, human resources representatives or other corporate actors that demonstrate an age discrimination bias. Comments such as "he or she is too old for this job," they cannot keep up," "when is he or she going to retire" are some of the many different coded language that shows an employment bias against older workers.
Commonly, employers disguise older worker terminations in unrelated "Reductions in Force" ("RIFs") In this situation, the employer claims a downsizing or layoff due to some alleged business need or market development. However, the employer uses this reason to lump in unrelated older workers nearing the end of their careers or, by virtue of their seniority and time at the company, substantial benefits package.
In other cases, the age discrimination might be used to actively prevent older workers from vesting rights and other financial benefits he or she has earned through years of hard work at the Company.
Through document discovery and depositions, DK Associates, LLC has been able to elicit favorable testimony and proof of age discrimination in Maryland age discrimination cases. Having a lawyer assist an employee during this process is vital, as corporations and employers have become more and more sophisticated at hiding their age discrimination bias under claims of "poor performance," "cultural fit" or, more recently, alleged non-bias performance metrics that are computer/software generated.
An employee needs to effectively tell their story to a jury. Age discrimination can be subtle, but its effects are devastating. Employees are the most vulnerable in the twilight of their career when future career prospects can be few and far between and retirement , family obligations and other financial issues are amplified.
It is important to recognize when a Company is masking age discrimination with supposedly legitimate business reasons so as to terminate older workers.
Call DK Associates, LLC now to discuss your age discrimination case.