Age Discrimination case hinges on business case.

by on December 15, 2008 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Age Discrimination in the workplace claims are leveled with solid documentation

A jury found an employer guilty of age discrimination in a case that sends a jarring message to employers.

A 43-year-old male manager was replaced by a 24-year-old woman with no previous management experience. The man sued, claiming age discrimination. The employer argued that the man had been fired because he was incompetent, not because of his age.

In court, the man even admitted that prior to his dismissal he’d never heard any age-related comments at work. Nonetheless, the employer didn’t do a convincing job of explaining to the court why the young woman with no experience replaced the experienced man. The jury may have been swayed by the fact that the woman didn’t last long in the job.

The man was awarded $595,000 in lost wages, $750,000 in punitive damages and about $100,000 to reimburse him for his legal fees.

Why the verdict when there was no direct evidence of age discrimination? Perhaps because the employer couldn’t make a solid business case for its hiring and firing decisions.

Cite: Laraway v. John Lance Ford.

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