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Age bias requires showing substantial age difference

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers age 40 or older from discrimination based on their age. But winning an ADEA case doesn’t require an employee to prove that the employer gave preferential treatment to someone younger than 40. She just has to show that the favored employee was “substantially” younger than the older employee.

Recent case: Carol Mikulski, who was 56, worked for Bucks County Community College as director of continuing education. When a new position opened up, she applied. The college selected a 47-year-old candidate who did not meet the minimum job posting requirements.

Mikulski suspected age discrimination and sued.

The court concluded that her age claim could go forward because she had been passed over by someone substantially younger. (Mikulski v. Bucks County Community College, No. 11-557, ED PA, 2011)

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