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Age alone can’t win worker’s age discrimination case

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees age 40 or older from discrimination based on their age. Older employees who are demoted, not promoted or fired sometimes assume they can win ADEA lawsuits simply by proving they were the oldest employee to suffer their fate. That’s not the case.

Recent case: Richard Guerrero was hired by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help disaster victims understand how the agency’s programs could help them recover. At the time he was hired, he was 76 years old and the oldest employee in the Houston office.

He was terminated 93 days later after his supervisor complained that he didn’t know his job. He sued, alleging age discrimination.

But he couldn’t show any evidence—direct or indirect—that age had anything to do with the decision. Being the oldest was not enough. (Guerrero v. Preston, No. H-08-2412, SD TX, 2009)

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