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How Can You Prove Age Discrimination in The Workplace?


According to data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), 12,965 charges of age discrimination were filed in 2021 alone. And while there has been a noticeable decrease in age discrimination charges since 2010, when 23,465 charges were filed with the EEOC, they do still happen.

And with an aging workforce, knowing how to prove that age discrimination is occurring can be helpful to individuals who may be dealing with it.

Below we take a look at how you can prove age discrimination in the workplace.

What is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is defined as treating a current employee or potential applicant less favorably due to their age.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), age discrimination is prohibited against all people who are age 40 or older. The ADEA does not protect workers under the age of 40 from age discrimination.

And one important note before we get to how to prove age discrimination is that age discrimination can occur between two individuals who are both over the age of 40.

Can You Prove Age Discrimination?

The long and short answer here is yes, you can prove age discrimination.

Age discrimination cases exist at local and national levels of proven– including cases that we have taken on here at Coffman Legal, LLC.

A recent 2020 case saw proven age discrimination at the Supreme Court level when a former clinical pharmacist’s case was won after the case was initially thrown out.

How Can You Prove Age Discrimination in the Workplace?

Now that you know that you can prove age discrimination, we can dig into the how-to actually prove age discrimination.

First off, there is no singular form of age discrimination. It is a complex issue that can appear in a number of different ways in the workplace. Workers may even find it difficult to recognize. But here are a few examples of how age discrimination may appear:

  • If an employer is dealing with a reduction in the workforce, they might target employees who are older.
  • If an older employee receives less desirable work and assignments in comparison to younger co-workers.
  • Derogatory comments and harassment are based on an older worker’s age.
  • Disproportionate hiring of younger employees when older applicants have applied and may be more qualified.
  • A noticeable lack of advancement opportunities for older workers.

To prove age discrimination in the workplace, there are a few different steps to keep in mind once you realize or believe you are dealing with age discrimination.

  1. Collect relevant evidence that can help support your age discrimination claim. This can include saving things like emails, text messages, voicemails, physical documents, and company communication like company-wide messages. You should also make note of any pointed questions or inquiries made about your age such as your supervisor asking when you plan to retire or unkind/unwelcome comments about your age.
  2. Keep your evidence in a safe location. Do not keep it in your office and consider making copies of everything as well, just in case.
  3. You can speak with an HR representative from your workplace’s HR department once you have noticed the discrimination occurring. But oftentimes, you may not feel comfortable doing so.
  4. If you are uncomfortable talking to an HR representative, consider speaking with a Columbus age discrimination lawyer. They will be able to assess the evidence you have gathered and help determine if you have a viable claim for age discrimination in the workplace.
  5. You will need to file a charge of employment discrimination next (though you can do this before speaking with a lawyer) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Evidence is going to be crucial to proving that you have been subjected to age discrimination – even before moving onto steps like speaking with an age discrimination lawyer or filing a charge.

So along with collecting the evidence as listed above, there are a few other things you can do to help strengthen your case in terms of evidence.

  • Gather contact information for any eyewitnesses that saw or heard the age discrimination.
  • Make a list of the people who you suspect have had a hand in the discrimination. Remember that age discrimination can come from a supervisor, a co-worker, or even someone from another department.
  • Write out your own recollection of events. This can include writing out the earliest instance of age discrimination that you can remember.

At the end of the day, strong evidence is going to go a long way to helping prove age discrimination.

To read more on age discrimination, see our post here.

Schedule a Consultation with a Columbus Age Discrimination Attorney Today

Have you found yourself in a situation where you believe you are on the receiving end of age discrimination in the workplace? Consider reaching out to our experienced age discrimination lawyers at Coffman Legal, LLC today.

Our team of experienced Columbus age discrimination attorneys understands the importance of providing dedicated legal representation and counsel to all employees, no matter the industry they are working in.

We can help guide you through proving age discrimination in the workplace and the next steps. Reach out today over the phone at 614-949-1181 or schedule a consultation online.


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