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Court: Years alone won’t define ‘significantly younger’

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

When someone claims age discrimination, he typically has to show that he was replaced by someone “significantly younger.” What that means is unclear—and courts seem in no hurry to come up with a hard-and-fast rule.

Recent case: Mark was fired from his job with a storage company and immediately assumed—based on his manager’s comments about Mark’s use of old technology like a day planner and pen instead of a smartphone—that the real reason was his age.

He sued, and showed that someone five years younger had replaced him. The company argued that was not a significant age difference.

The court refused to toss out the case on that basis, concluding instead that it was unwilling to set an exact age difference that would constitute “significantly younger.” (Glassmire v. Public Storage, No. 4:11-CV-748, ND TX, 2013)

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