When it comes to proving discrimination, the first hurdle employees have to jump through is showing that it’s more likely than not that your organization discriminated based on the person’s protected characteristic (age, gender, race, disability status, etc). But that’s nearly impossible to prove if the replacement employee shares those same characteristics with the fired employee.
Recent case: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh fired Yvonne Wilson, a 57-year-old female with disabilities, for alleged insubordination. The museum replaced her with a 59-year-old deaf woman who needed multiple accommodations. Wilson sued for age and disability bias, but the trial court dismissed the case, concluding that Wilson couldn’t show enough apparent discrimination. (Wilson v. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, No. 05-CV-1748, WD PA, 2006)