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Adequate proof required in age discrimination case

With age comes wisdom or at least that is what the old adage claims. However, with age also comes a higher chance of being discriminated against in the workplace in Indiana and other states. Statistics show that the number of individuals who believe they have faced age discrimination has increased in recent years.

Complaints that people filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, due to alleged age discrimination have risen by nearly 30 percent since the year 1997. This may partly be due to downsizing caused by the recession, in addition to today's aging workforce. The challenge for many people who feel as if they have been victims of age discrimination is knowing how to prove that they lost their jobs -- their main financial assets -- unfairly.

According to federal law, job applicants and workers who are 40 years old and older are protected from discrimination on the basis of age when it comes to various employment conditions at companies employing over 20 workers. Included in the protection are promotions, benefits, pay, layoffs, firing and hiring. This does not mean a person cannot be fired, but one's age alone cannot be the reason for one's termination.

It is best to furnish direct proof when filing a discrimination claim, such as a memo that indicates that someone needs to be fired for being too old. Other evidence of illegal discrimination may be that an older worker was replaced by a younger one who lacked additional or new skills needed at the company. The EEOC can help settle a discrimination matter via mediation, but, if mediation ends up not being successful, the commission will further investigate the situation. If the matter still cannot be settled, legal action can be taken. Appropriate legal guidance in Indiana may enable age discrimination victims to hold accountable the employers who have violated today's workplace discrimination laws.

Source: consumerreports.org, "Are you a victim of age discrimination?", May 22, 2015

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