Employees who want to prove age discrimination have to show that a younger employee was treated more favorably than the older one. There’s no set age spread required.
However, a recent case found that a mere one-year difference certainly wasn’t enough to show age discrimination absent direct evidence that age was the underlying reason for termination or another adverse action.
Recent case: Pete, who was age 52 and worked as a painter at a college, was fired when managers complained about the quality of a paint job. He was replaced by a 51-year-old man.
Pete sued, alleging age discrimination. But the court threw out the case, concluding that such a small age difference wasn’t enough to show age bias. (Keller v. Coastal Bend College,15-40710, 5th Cir., 2015)