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New York Court Discusses Elements of an Age Discrimination Claim

July 21, 2020

Many people in the workforce are older and, unfortunately, discriminated against due to their age. Age discrimination is unlawful, and people who suffer adverse employment effects due to age discrimination may be able to recover damages in a civil lawsuit. Recently, a New York court discussed a plaintiff’s burden of proof in an age discrimination case, in an action in which the plaintiff’s claims were ultimately dismissed. If you were the victim of age discrimination in the workplace, it is advisable to speak to a skilled New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to be awarded damages.

The Alleged Discrimination

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a real estate executive for the defendant investment group. During his tenure, the defendant CEO allegedly made comments regarding the plaintiff’s age. The plaintiff was eventually terminated, after which he filed an age discrimination claim against the defendants. The defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, which the court granted.

Proving Age Discrimination

Under the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee in terms of compensation, conditions, or terms of employment or to terminate an employee due to the employee’s age. Under the burden-shifting framework of ADEA employment discrimination cases, a plaintiff must set forth facts sufficient to establish a prima facie case of discrimination, after which the defendant must demonstrate that a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason existed for the adverse actions taken against the plaintiff. The plaintiff must then demonstrate that the defendant’s reasons are pretextual, otherwise, the plaintiff’s claim will be dismissed.

To support an age discrimination claim under the ADEA, the plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she was within a protected class, he or she was qualified for the position in question but nonetheless experienced an adverse employment action, and that the adverse action happened under circumstances that give rise to an insinuation of discrimination. Particularly, the plaintiff must demonstrate “but for” causation. In other words, that the adverse employment action would not have occurred but for the plaintiff’s age.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s complaint was wholly devoid of facts that alleged but-for causation. Specifically, the plaintiff’s allegations were overly broad and vague and lacked specific facts regarding the dates or reasons any adverse actions occurred or the ages of any other employees that allegedly received disparate treatment. Instead, the plaintiff only alleged one instance in which a discriminatory comment was made six months prior to the plaintiff’s termination, which the court found to be too remote in time to demonstrate but-for causation. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Speak to a Trusted New York Attorney

If you were discriminated against in the workplace due to your age, you might be able to recover compensation, and you should speak to an attorney. The trusted New York employment discrimination attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP are well-versed in what it takes to present a winning case, and we will work diligently on your behalf. We have an office in Manhattan, where you can call us at (212) 227-7070, and an office in Garden City, where you can call us at (516) 880-8170. You can also contact us through our form online to set up a meeting.

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